Sunday, January 04, 2009

Wine in Tetra Paks good for the Environment?

Banrock Station Ecomate Tetra Pak WineBanrock Station launched its "Ecomate" in mid 2008. This is wine in cardboard Tetra Paks, using the same technology as for keeping fruit juice fresh without refrigeration. Banrock make much of the environmental credentials of this form of packaging. But apart from reducing the weight and bulk of packaging, thus reducing energy used in transport, it does not appear particularly ecological.

Glass used in wine bottles is able to be easily recycled. The plastic coated cardboard and plastic spout used in a Tetra Prisma would seem much harder to recycle. Also it is curious that the packs do not have a long shelf life, with one purchased in Sydney last week having a use-by date of August 2009 (the same as for Banrock Station casks wine bought at the same time). The carton is labelled as containing preservative 220 (Sulfur dioxide), so this not a preservative free wine.

However, the cartons would be convenient, being much lighter, backing smaller and less liable to breakage. The cartons have been made to have about the same footprint as a wine bottle, so they fit in bottle carriers.They hold 1l, much more than a 750 bottle. The cartons are half the size of the 2l casks Banrock Station also sell in their environmental range (in a brown cardboard box with a "LandCare Australia" logo on it).

While wine in cartons might seem ideal for Internet shopping, Amazon Fresh ('s grocery arm), don't sell the ecomate, although they sell other Banrock Station wine in bottles (of the dozens of Australian wines sold by Amazon).

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