Paper wine bottle

First the plastic cork, and now the paper wine bottle

The UK will soon see the launch of the world’s first paper wine bottle. It may have oenophiles spluttering into their claret, but the company behind the product is already in talks with a leading supermarket chain and insists it will be on the shelves early next year.

With the UK poised to run out of space for landfill within seven years, the bottle’s makers claim biodegradable packaging will become a paramount issue for both consumers and manufacturers. The paper bottle weighs only 55g compared with 500g for a glass bottle, meaning transport costs will be hugely reduced. In addition, its carbon footprint is only 10% of that of a glass bottle. The paper bottle is compostable and decomposes in weeks.

Greenbottle, the company behind the product, already manufactures the world’s first paper milk bottle, which is being tested in Asda stores in the south west of England and is apparently proving popular with ethically minded customers.

More than 15 million plastic bottles are used in the UK. Most end up in landfill where they will last for up to 500 years.

“In local shops where they are available, they are outselling milk in plastic bottles by two or three to one,” said Martin Myerscough, the Suffolk businessman who invented the paper bottle.

Myerscough established his company after talking to a waste tip supervisor who told him plastic bottles were the biggest problem in his job. He says that retaining the wine bottle shape was an attempt to reassure consumers. “We can be more radical, but we are inventing a concept here and we don’t want people to be too scared about it. If we are going to change consumer habits, we need to lead them along gently,” he explained.

The wine bottles feature a similar bag to that found in wine boxes so the drink is kept in pristine condition. Green-bottle’s products are currently made in Turkey but a plant is due to open in Cornwall soon. The intention is to sell the technology to companies, allowing them to build bottling plants next to their manufacturing sites and cut down on transport times. The current machinery is capable of producing 50 milk bottles a minute and is patent protected.

But while consumers have warmed to paper milk bottles, venturing into the wine market is more adventurous. “How wine looks is incredibly important; it’s such an arcane business,” said Adam Lechmere, news editor at Decanter magazine. “Consumers don’t care so much about whether wine is green or not. It’s not like meat or veg. We don’t interrogate wine like we do a chicken.”

Source: Packaging Digest