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Wine producers invited to share in environmental and cost benefits

Australian and NZ wine industries could make environmental and cost savings by taking part in a new international project called GlassRite Wine. With specialist support based in Sydney, both industries can access valuable advice on increasing bulk wine sales to the UK, using lighter weight glass bottles.

As the global trend towards bulk wine exportation and the use of lighter weight bottles continues to grow, a groundbreaking cross-industry project, led by UK government-funded Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), is seeking partners from Australia and NZ who are involved in supplying wine to the UK, to take part in this new global initiative.

The project has already achieved considerable cost and environmental benefits across the UK market.

The aim of the international GlassRite Wine project is to increase the bulk importation of wine into the UK by an additional 85 million bottles of wine per year, and reduce the total glass wine bottle weight by 30,000 tonnes.

With the UK currently representing the largest export market for both Australian and NZ-produced wine, accounting for 36% and 33% of total exports respectively, it is becoming increasingly important for the wine industry to respond to trends and market drivers.

Bulk exportation and the use of lighter weight bottles has already enabled growers, bottle manufacturers and fillers, agents, brand owners and retailers to significantly reduce transportation costs, achieve reductions and effectively position themselves in the competitive market.

Bulk exportation can double the amount of wine shipped in a standard container – reducing CO2 emissions and costs by up to 40%. It also allows the supply chain to specify and use the UK’s widely-available supply of green recycled glass in its bottles.

Participants will be able to draw on the invaluable experiences gained from the first phase of the project, which saw industry leaders in the UK, such as the largest retailer Tesco, Constellation Europe and Fosters EMEA, increasing bulk importation and the use of lighter weight bottles.

This pioneering activity has diverted 11,500 tonnes of glass from the waste streams due to lightweighting initiatives. It has also resulted in an additional 80 million glass bottles of wine being filled in the UK – which in turn has increased the use of recycled green glass.

WRAP beverages category manager, Nicola Jenkin, said that “this pioneering project offers companies involved in exporting an excellent opportunity to pull together and benefit from material, supply chain and commercial savings – and respond to UK consumer pressure to reduce packaging.

“The Australian wine industry has already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, with leading Australian wine brand Wolf Blass by Fosters having already undertaken bulk importation and the use of lighter weight bottles. We are now keen to hear from others who wish to grasp this opportunity and get involved.”

The project’s Steering Group will be chaired by Sally Easton MW, a respected industry expert and commentator.

According to Easton, “the wine industry has been enormously pro-active over the past few years, exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact of international trading, and wines with an environmental and ethical message are performing increasingly well. This pioneering initiative now offers companies an opportunity to play a part in developing global best practice – pulling together to achieve real change.”

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