Some people perceive boxed wine as not as fancy, but the alternative packing method may actually be better for the environment than the typical glass bottle.
As wineries and consumers look for more ways to go green with their vino, boxed and bagged wine could provide a happy solution to the environmental expenditure on bottles.
Especially with decent boxed wines hitting the market, it may be time to reconsider the stigma against boxes and look honestly at which packaging method is better for you and the planet.
Boxes win on carbon footprint
Heavy glass costs a lot to ship, both in terms of money and environmental impact. Transportation methods also have to take climate control into account since delicate wines need to be kept at exact temperatures, adding up to increased electricity and insulating material costs.
Glass and cardboard are equally recyclable
Glass is easy to recycle, so bottles seem like a green option, but boxed wines still have the edge. Even with the environmental drawbacks of the plastic liner and spigot inserted inside the box, which are harder to reuse, life cycle analysis still shows boxed wines result in a lower environmental impact.
Boxes are cheaper
It’s expensive to make a fancy glass bottle, and that cost tricks down into the purchase price at your local wine shop.
Boxes are bigger
It’s hard to find wine bottles much larger than the standard 750 milliliters, but boxed wines often come in XL sizes. You’ll find boxed wines as large as three liters, which provides all the wine of four bottles at a fraction of the material packaging.
Boxes don’t break as often
Shattered wine bottles add up. While only a fraction of bottles will end in shards on the floor, the physical durability of boxed and bagged wines ultimately give them an environmental edge since fewer wines are lost completely to accidents. Plus, you’ll never fall prey to a broken cork again.
Spigots prevent oxidation
Anyone who has left a bottle in the fridge too long knows oxygen is the enemy of wine. An open bottle will last about a week in the fridge, but a bag can last much longer since it deflates as you pour, eliminating oxygen from the wine. This leads to less bad wine and less overall waste.
Don't forget about cans
Both boxes and bottles are stepping stones toward greener alternatives like aluminum cans. Ideally, consumers would all bring reusable containers directly to wineries to fill up, as is common in some communities in Europe. Until alcohol regulations catch up, though, eco-conscious drinkers will have to make do by limiting environmental impacts where they can.
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