- The reWINE project today presented the results of the pilot test of a sustainable system for the collection, cleaning and reuse of glass bottles in the wine sector in Catalonia, which it has developed for 20 months.
- The environmental assessment of the bottle collection and washing systems that have been tested shows that the reuse of bottles means a saving of between 0.56 and 2.6 kg of CO2 equivalent per bottle, accumulated after 8 reuses.
- During the pilot test, the project has managed to recover 82,239 bottles of wine for reuse. The useful life of these bottles represents the saving of more than 170,000 kg of CO2 equivalent, which are the emissions that a vehicle would produce when making 11 laps around the world.
The reuse of bottles of wine in the Catalan wine sector could save more than 100 million kg of CO2 equivalent per year and 21,756 tons of waste, thus reducing its carbon footprint by 28%. This saving would arise if the 48,346,793 bottles of wine produced in Catalonia and placed on the Catalan market were reused. This is one of the data that the reWINE project has presented today during the day “We are committed to reusing bottles of wine”, in which he explained the main results of the pilot test of a sustainable system of collection, cleaning and reuse of bottles of wine, which has developed for 20 months.
The pilot test involved 7 Catalan wineries – the Cooperativa Falset Marçà, Cellers Torres, Albet i Noya, La Vinyeta, Talcomraja, Vins Pravi and Joan Ametller -, more than 30 shops, more than 50 restaurants, 2 logistics companies, 3 landfills Consortium for Waste Management in the Vallès Oriental and two bottle washing plants.
During the months of the pilot test, 150,000 bottles with the reWINE label were sold and 82,2399 were recovered. To achieve this, different logistics have been explored in 5 different scenarios. On the one hand, bottles have been collected through the participating restaurants. And on the other hand, through businesses with incentive systems. For example, several stores in the Veritas and Ametller Origen supermarkets paid 10 cents to consumers who returned a bottle with the reWINE label. In El Vallès, four Caprabo establishments also took part, selling bottles of the project’s wines and consumers had to return them to landfills and enter a draw to gain a winemaking experience. Some small establishments applied a deposit to the bottle (between 0.13 and 0.5 cents) which was returned once the bottle was recovered.
“The reWINE pilot test has shown that the reuse of bottles in the wine sector is technically feasible and more environmentally friendly. But it is an ambitious initiative that needs more support and initiatives from the sector and the Administration “, highlights Juan Fran Sangüesa, head of the Innovation Projects Unit of the UAB Research Park and coordinator of the project.
Demonstrated environmental benefits of reuse
In the different scenarios, reWINE has analyzed the entire life cycle of the bottle, from its manufacture, labeling in the cellar and distribution in the market, to the collection of empty bottles, washing and filling of us. The Life Cycle Analysis methodology has been used to compare the reuse of bottles up to eight times – optimal amount of uses that has been stipulated considering the aesthetic and hygienic aspects – versus the use of eight bottles new.
Among the different environmental indicators, the carbon footprint, expressed in kg of CO2 equivalent, has been evaluated. “Environmental studies indicate that reusable bottles are more environmentally friendly than disposable bottles, as we have found that reuse can save between 0.56 and 2.6 kg of CO2 equivalent per bottle, accumulated after 8 cycles ”, explains Gabriela Benveniste, unpublished, the eco-innovation study that participates in the project as responsible for the economic and environmental analysis of the reuse process. For example, by reusing up to 8 times the 82,239 bottles collected during the pilot test, you can save more than 170,000 kg of CO2 equivalent, which is the emissions that a vehicle would make 11 laps around the world. In addition, the reuse of these bottles has prevented 34 tons of waste.
According to studies, these environmental benefits could be further increased if the distance between wineries and washing plants is reduced and logistics are simplified. “Our washing plant was located more than 400 km from the different wineries and yet there has been a saving in the carbon footprint. If washing plants were located near wineries — about 60 miles, one in each D.O. in order to cover the entire Catalan territory – we would further reduce the carbon footprint of reuse and increase savings by between 40 and 50%”, adds Gabriela Benveniste.
The need of more bottle washing plants
One of the most important challenges in implementing reuse in this industry is to solve the bottle return system. “The logistics of collecting the bottles must be easy and convenient, both for points of sale and for consumers,” says Marta Beltran, Rezero project director.
“In the restaurant sector there are already returnable drinks, but reuse is not present in shops,” says Beltran. This is reflected in the data obtained in the pilot test: sales in stores and supermarkets, where consumers had to return the empty bottle, the reWINE has managed to recover 21% of reusable packaging, while in the restaurant sector the level of return has stood at 96%. “ReWINE has also shown that the deposit, return and return system – SDDR – is the most effective tool to ensure the return of empty bottles to establishments by consumers, far above other incentives,” he says. Beltran.
Economically, the cost of reusing a bottle of wine is currently slightly higher than buying a new bottle. But in this case, the distance from the washing plant and the cost of cleaning the bottles again play an essential role. According to the reWINE team, washing facilities are needed in Catalonia near wineries in order to optimize the economic and environmental cost of transport. In this sense, they encourage the Designations of Origin to each have a shared washing plant with the capacity to wash a large volume of bottles.
reWINE is a project promoted in 2016 by the UAB Research Park, the Catalan Waste Agency, Rezero, Inèdit, the Cooperativa Falset Marçà, Cellers Torres and the Infinity washing plant, and has the support of the LIFE program of the European Union,