The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found there was an increase of 54% in the number of 75cl bottles filled with bulk imported wine between July 2006 and June 2007, compared with the previous 12 months.

The increase, reported by UK wine fillers taking part in the GlassRite Wine project, resulted in an extra 20,000 tonnes of lightweight glass bottles being produced in the UK, using an additional 14,000 tonnes of recycled glass.

The GlassRite Wine project, launched in 2006, encourages wine importers, brand owners and retailers to bulk import wine and bottle it in lighter glass bottles manufactured in the UK to reduce the wine industry’s environmental impact.

Andy Dawe, WRAP’s head of retail programmes, said: “This is very encouraging as it demonstrates that the work of all the GlassRite Wine partners is delivering real results.

“By encouraging the industry to bulk import wine and bottle it here in the UK, we are reducing the amount of green glass entering our recycling systems, increasing the domestic market for recycled glass and also increasing the use of lighter weight bottles, which use less raw material and are better for the environment.

“As well as cutting glass waste, this approach also improves the industry’s carbon emissions profile, and saves money by reducing transport and energy costs.”

British Glass director general David Workman said: “Bulk importing and the associated lightweighting of glass bottles demonstrates the flexibility of the glass packaging industry to work closely with partners and customers to deliver significant environmental benefits throughout the supply chain.”

Research by WRAP has shown that bulk importation of wine can reduce carbon emissions by 30-40% and using lighter bottles can achieve reductions of up to 30%.

Kate Martin

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