Marks & Spencer’s Plastic Wine Bottles Could Spoil Faster

by | May 19, 2010

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Wine stored in plastic bottles may spoil faster than when kept in glass bottles, according to new research from the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) in France. According to the report, wine stored in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles begins oxidizing within six months. The study used 25 testers drinking white wine kept in several types of packaging over two years. Findings on red wine were less conclusive, and the study will continue for several more months.

Marks & Spencer recently decided to change its 250 ml bottles over to PET plastic. The British retailer announced the move earlier this month, which the company says will save it 525 tons of packaging material every year. According to reports, the company will shift all of its mini bottles, 250 ml, to PET plastic, which is 88 percent lighter than glass. The company cited greater customer convenience as a main factor behind the decision. The company worked with French producer Paul Sapin and British-based Roger Harris Wines to design the new bottles.

The findings may mitigate any environmental gain the company was hoping to enjoy from the move. Savings on weight and packaging will prove ephemeral if consumers end up disposing of bottles that have gone bad.

The M&S bottles are made of two layers of PET with a barrier material between, which is supposed to prevent oxygen from entering the container. Although the study specifically tested multi-layer PET bottles, it did not report whether it used multi-layer bottles using the same barrier material as the M&S bottles.

Marks & Spencer guarantees the freshness of its wine for a full year after sale.

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