Report: The problem with wine bottles
– The New York Times reports –
Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard explains issue
– Glass bottles have historically been the perfect containers for wine. They are inert and handily sealed, so wine can age and evolve for years free of influence. They are easy to transport and store. A 750-milliliter bottle is the perfect size for two people.
Yet glass bottles have never been more of a problem than they are today, at a time of global trade disruptions and climate crisis.
Making glass bottles demands an enormous amount of heat and energy, and bottled wine, with all the necessary packing materials to protect the fragile containers, are heavy loads that require lots of fuel to ship. The heavier the bottles, the more fuel burned and the more greenhouse gases produced.
The world could perhaps accept this, except for one major additional problem: Once those bottles are drained of wine, they are typically thrown away. The whole energy-demanding, greenhouse gas-emitting process must be repeated, again and again. Theoretically, recycling glass bottles should help mitigate the problem. But, as Jason Haas, the general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, Calif., explained in a recent blog post, the state of glass recycling in the United States is discouraging.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates only 31 percent of glass in the United States is recycled, compared with 74 percent in Europe and more than 95 percent in Sweden, Belgium and Slovenia.