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Wine drinkers may no longer have to lug heavy bottles home this Christmas, thanks to what is claimed to be the world’s first paper wine bottle.
The new bottles, which contain a film plastic bag to keep the wine airtight, are expected to be on the shelves by Christmas. They weigh roughly a tenth of their conventional counterparts and, by avoiding the heat-intensive glass-making process, use just one-tenth of the energy.
Martin Myerscough, inventor and founder of GreenBottle, the company behind the innovation, is hopeful his paper version will catch on despite the long pedigree of wine in bottles.
“Look at screwcaps,” he said. “Everyone derided them four or five years ago and they have now got half the market. Everyone said they will never do it, and lo and behold it happened.”
Mr Myerscough, a mechanical engineer and accountant by trade, began making paper bottles for milk – which are more easily recyclable than the laminated cartons – before moving on to wine.
His eureka moment came when he chanced upon the manager of a landfill site who said his biggest problem was plastic bottles. “He said, solve that and you will make money.”
Wine may prove a tougher sell with consumers than everyday milk, but GreenBottle says environmentally conscious imbibers that make the switch will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme, the UK buys about 1.2bn glass bottles a year, generating carbon dioxide emissions during transportation and consigning more than half a million tonnes of glass to the country’s waste stream.
Indeed, so great is the production of green glass– despite the fact that most wine drunk in the UK is imported – that some companies are now shipping in tankers and then bottling on site.
Kingsland Wine & Spirits is the first wine supplier to contract to use the paper bottles.
The company already imports wine in bulk to its site in Irlam via the Manchester Ship Canal, which it says saves 2,000 lorry journeys each year.