Plastic wine bottles. You’re kidding, right..?
More From: Curious Facts & Fun
Posted February 23rd, 2009 by Matt Kane
No, I’m not kidding. In fact, you may have seen them already as they are being used by some of the UK’s top supermarkets, including Sainbury’s, as you can see from the range pictured left. Some believe it to be the next big thing. Whether it is or not, you are sure to see more over the next few years.
The new plastic bottles are made from the recycable PET plastic and are made to look the same and hold the same amount as glass bottles – only they are an eighth of the weight. Traditional glass bottles weigh around 400 grams, whilst the PET bottles weigh in at a mere 54 grams.
Looking at the advantages on offer, it starts to make a lot of sense. According to the UK Government’s packaging agency, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, reducing the weight of all glass wine bottles to the lightest available would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tons for that market alone. Less energy is used to make and transport them, and you can happily breath a sigh of relief when you drop one and it just bounces off the floor, as opposed to smashing into smithereens. In addition to this, they are perfect for those summer festivals, barbecues and so on.
On the flip-side, these plastic bottles will only be used for wine that needs to be drank young. Until the technology is perfected, it will be impossible to age a fine wine in anything other than glass. There are minor concerns about the leeching of some chemicals from the plastic into the wine itself, although it is believed that it is only in very small, harmless amounts.
The cheaper, big brand wines are really the only ones to experiment so far. It is a gamble, as there is definitely a value attached to glass bottles. The shelf life won’t be as long and the public will be skeptical at first, although I believe there is a place for them and it is at that lower end of the market, initially anyway. Who knows, like screwcap pretty much cured the problem of spoiled wine by a faulty cork, a few years down the line we might see wine in plastic bottles become the ‘norm’, and if it helps the environment without tainting the end product, then we’re all for it.