Marks & Spencer Converts Glass Wine Bottles to Eco-Friendly Plastic

by | May 6, 2010

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Marks & Spencer will be the first retailer in the UK to convert its entire line of mini 25cl wine bottles from glass to environmentally-friendly polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic to meet consumer demand for lighter and unbreakable bottles, reports The Guardian. The shift is expected to save 525 tons of packaging a year.

The mini bottles are 88 percent lighter than glass bottles, and use less energy to manufacture than glass bottles. The lightweight plastic bottles also reduce distribution emissions.

The retailer has been working in partnership with Paul Sapin and Roger Harris Wines to develop the new technology for the plastic bottles, which are guaranteed to keep wine fresh for at least 12 months.

It took two years to produce the MLP PET for wine bottles, which is made with two layers of polyethylene terephthalate and a barrier material in between that blocks oxygen from entering the bottles.

Another top UK retailer, Sainsbury’s already offers PET for standard 75cl bottles but not for its small bottle range. Waitrose is also launching a Shiraz and Chenin Blanc in a 75cl PET plastic bottle at the end of May, according to the article.

The wine industry, together with food companies, has been making strides in sustainable packaging. As an example, Sutter Home Winery is now using PET bottles for all of its 187-mL wine bottles sold in the United States.

Wineries are also working on more sustainable initiatives. As an example, most recently Concha y Toro in Chile has partnered with Fundacion Chile and the Water Footprint Network (WFN), an international organization that promotes sustainable water use by production systems, to reduce water consumption and increase its water efficiency.

Concha y Toro is said to be the first winery to undertake this initiative in the wine industry globally.

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