A Pouch Full of Wine
There has been a continuous evolution of wine packaging throughout the years from bottles to cardboard boxes, corks to screw tops and more recently the emergence of Tetra Paks – essentially box 2.0 with less environmental impact. And now South Africa’s The Company of Wine People have unveiled their new eco-friendly design, the wine pouch, a product that on first glance resembles a Capri Sun for grown-ups.
Treehugger examines this newest entrant as part of their ongoing debate on which design is the best choice from the standpoint of its sustainability as well as its overall practicality. The wine pouch gets points for its convenience – handles are built into the packaging – and durability – the materials utilized make it both flexible and nearly impervious to puncturing – but it fails to impress on other counts. Though the pouch can claim to keep wine fresher for longer once opened, it is not meant for oenophiles who are looking to store their vintages long term.
In terms of the pouch’s greenness, things get a bit sticky. Despite the packaging not currently being recyclable, its overall carbon footprint is still less than that of glass bottles. Treehugger reports:
According to South Africa’s The Company of Wine People, wine pouches consume about 20% of the energy for production that a glass bottle does and has around 20% of the carbon footprint of glass (Tetra Paks use only about 5% of the energy of a glass bottle and has 5% the CO2 footprint). Pouches weigh 20 times less than bottles, which means they are a lot easier to lug to the curb and take up less space at the landfill.
The article goes on to remind us that the only truly sustainable model is one where consumers are able to refill their own containers at a winery or store, but in the meantime we’re left with the choices at hand. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it’s hard to imagine anyone flocking to the wine shop to pick up a couple pouches of wine. And no matter how many green initiatives a product has in its favor, its ultimate success still hinges on whether or not people are going to be willing to adopt the change.