One could say that wine and beer are rather popular beverages around the world. They’ve been around for thousands of years and have such great pleasure value. But these days, post-pleasure, those bottles are usually tossed, generating lots of weight and bulk in the landfills. Some are recycled – sorted by color, crushed, melted and reformed into new bottles, certainly a better use for the glass, but still really energy intensive. So what about refilling those bottles?
Sterilizing and refilling wine bottles is an old practice, and still being done in Europe and elsewhere. And though it uses a fraction of the energy required to make new ones, it is not catching on quickly here. Everyone wants their own distinctive bottle and needs consistency for labeling. Old labels are hard to remove. But it makes so much sense, and saves money too. A company in Northern California is putting their bets on it. Named simply Wine Bottle Recycling, they plan to begin shipping out bottles to eco-conscious wineries this summer. Maybe they can begin a new way of doing business.
If you happen to live nearby one of the few wineries or breweries that offer it, you can bring in their bottles to be refilled. In the beer world, these “growlers” are catching on. But throughout Canada, beer drinkers return their bottles and the reuse rate is high. Why not here?
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Barbara Hirsch, recording engineer, eco-person
“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– The Lorax, Children’s book by Dr. Seuss