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People,

Let me begin with an apology; this post does not have to do with reliability directly. But I guess it was felt earlier that political/social issues are OK to bring up in the context of 'greenness'. Read no further if you object.

Used wine bottles don't get recycled; they are crushed and made into new, usually lower grade glass. This a large volume item, and uses up lots of energy in the process.
The problem is that wine bottlers have unique designs, So the shapes, and colors are different for different wineries. Even in continental Europe, where people are reasonably 'green', this still happens, while beer bottles invariably get recycled through the supermarkets or wine stores. For this the sellers charge a refundable deposit, so the empty bottles come back to them. In the days when coke and pepsi were available in glass bottles, they were also recycled.

The difference is due to the lack of standardization, and a willingness by wineries to rely on their wine and labeling alone, rather than their bottle shapes, to sell their products ( a la perfumes!). There will be significant cost reductions and reduced greenhouse gases if all concerned agree.

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Vee,

The mantra of conservative consumption is "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". First reduce use, then reuse what you must and recycle the rest. (Realistically, as much of the rest as you can.)

I believe that when you refer to wine bottles not being "recycled" you mean they are not "reused" which would move them a step up in the chain. I agree in principal, but logistics may dictate otherwise. Handling of the bottles may present a problem since they have a wider variety of shapes and sizes than beer bottles. There are the three most common and they probably make up 75% of bottles, though.

We will need much more research into the proper reuse of wine bottles Wink
RM
Years ago, most paper was made from rags.

The ragman traveled from town to town with his bundle of rags collected from people who had worn clothing until thread-bare (reduce), outgrown and handed-down (reuse), and used for cleaning and patching (reuse again).

Then they were turned into paper (recycle).

It's the natural order of things not wasted. And as much as we baby boomers like to believe we invented it, that's just not the case. We invented recycling of products that don't justify their cost economically. Wink
RM
Almost a candle holder; not an empty wine bottle.

But, unlike oak - bottles don't throw bullets back at you.

Another important item I've found when practicing your quick draw -- too much with the thumb can make it numb; so, wait before reloading. If you reload and try anything fancy just after making your thumb numb you may come close to shooting yourself in the foot. And, please do it outdoors and before you empty the wine bottle.
RM
Well,
but isn't it up to the glass companies and not the wineries to choose their glass?
For example, In Madera,Ca Canandeigua Winery buys all their glass from Saint Gobain. All the glass comes from either one of 2 tanks, the clear and the green tank. The green is all champagne green which is used for (obviously champagne) as well as all the wine green glass containers (cabernets, clarets, shiraz, etc). The clear can vary between clear (about 70% of the production), Georgia Green (a light blue/green for cheap wine jugs) and cobalt blue (for 'fancy' wines). The color of the clear tank is changed by adding fritt to the stream in the forehearth which allows the furnace tank to remain clear without having to waste glass when the color changes from one to another and allowing a portion of the colored cullet (reject glass from the Hot end or cold end) to be sent back to the furnace without changing the color too much. The cullet from each tank goes back to the batch house for crushing and a certain percentage (up to 40% for green glass) reused in the process (vs making new batch).
I know you are speaking of recycling, but if the glass companies standardize the recipes (and there's really nothing different in the composition of glass from one to another) then there would be no reason why wine/champagne glass wouldn't be recycled. I imagine the trace amounts of the colorants used (iron/cobalt) would not be enough make the recycle process energy nonviable. (As long as you separate clear/green/blue/brown).
RM
JS,
You are pointing out (rightly so) fprm the manufacturer's point of view.
My observation is from the wine maker/bottler's point of view. If all of them agreed on 3 or 4 standard designs on shape, cork size, and bottle size, the we can replicate the beer bottle story. In this case, it does not matter whose bottle it is, as long as the right color bottles come back. Returning bottles is not an unsurmountable problem, that has been solved earlier.
RM
Reading this today piqued my curiosity...I did a quick search and came across an interesting tidbit.

Gallo has laid claim as the largest wine bottle manufacturer in the world with roughly 50% of their glass being recycle material. The article confirms the discussion about marketing strategies and bottles. I also wonder if wine bottles generally would survive multiple reuses. We should all consider, at least those of us old enough to remember Eeker, the very substantial bottles used formerly for soft drinks and beer. Most bottles of any kind today would not survive even a single reuse. Roll Eyes

Gallo Glass Company

Interesting article that one! Wink
RM
Vee,

The discussion is really be about more than just wine bottles. A consumer society by its very nature is Consuming.

Where we live here in Maryland, all of our recycling goes into the same bin…paper, glass, plastic, metal, everything…same bin (we have seperate cans for trash). Its then transported, sorted, processed, and what doesn’t make the sort gets land-filled or burned. It seems to me that the bulk of the population doesn’t care what really happens as long and they just throw what to them used to be trash into the recycling bin instead. Since its now recycling there seems to be some kind of absolution that they can consume anything as long as it goes into the recycling instead of the trash.

The fact that the cost to handle most of β€˜the recycling’ is economically unviable and of little or no consequence to them. I’m wondering if the consumers are really willing to pay let’s say $25 for a bottle of wine that is bottled in reusable bottles vs. paying $20 for the same contents in a product specific bottle? My bet is that the consumer wants they want as cheap as they can get it and the additional cost of reusing won’t fly with the consumer when they get the same satisfaction from recycling as they would from reusing at a higher cost.
RM
Dana, Dave,
Recycled glass is not quite the same as recycled bottles! In Europe, glass beer bottles can be recycled through the manufacturer - you pay a deposit amount to the supermarket or wine shop, and they return it when you bring back the empty bottles. But in the same Europe, it is somehow uneconomic (sic) to do the same with wine bottles. Unlike the Maryland story from Dave, in Europe bottles are separated at source: we have separate containers for clear, green and brown bottles. But they all get crushed, melted and 'recycled'. That is after the cost of energy to melt and form the bottles. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that this process is cheaper than cleaning and re-labelling the used bottles. The mechanism to collect used bottles exist, as shown by the beer companies. But of course this can't work for the wineries!
Dave, you are quite right, it is a consumer society. But I am not convinced that the cost will go up from $20 to $25. If anything, it should go down, if my understanding of the energy and transportation costs is correct. But I guess the wineries can prove otherwise; given one's (vested) interests and enough financial clout, one can 'prove' anything. As an example, one of the largest cigarette manufacturers ran a full page ad in The Economist (and perhaps other media) every week for about 2 or 3 years, claiming that drinking water was more dangerous than cigarettes!
Asking the consumer to pay more to salve his green conscience will never work; making the product cheaper always wins. The consumer attitude you want to work with is to at least start segregating waste at source. that way the cost of sorting at least will come down.
Our consumer society is wasteful. It is time they saw that this costs them real money.
RM

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