Pilot programme to reuse wine bottles in Catalonia
The pilot programme is already under way and aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a sustainable collection, cleaning and reuse system of wine bottles from Catalonia's wine industry. The reWINE project, coordinated by the UAB Research Park, includes four wine cellars, 50 restaurants and over a dozen of stores from around Catalonia.
The pilot programme will last 18 months and will focus on the entire bottle process, from labelling to washing, distribution and recollection of empty bottles. The four participating wine cellars (Cooperativa Falset Marçà, Vinyeta, Talcomraja and Vins Pravi) distribute their products to restaurants with a label indicating that they are reusable. When the bottles are empty, the restaurants while store them until the distributors return and pick them up. When there is a large enough amount of bottles for transport, the empty bottles will be taken to a washing plant. There they will be cleaned and returned to the cellars to begin the process anew.
In addition to the restaurants, the pilot programme also includes companies such as bottle return points and machines. Through this, the project intends to recover some 100,000 bottles, which represents a reduction in some 45 tonnes of glass bottle residues.
During the pilot programme, scientists will monitor the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the project and its feasibility, with the aim of providing quantitative and qualitative assessments of the benefits it may offer. If the results are positive, the objective would be soon to implement this circular economic system of bottle reuse in Catalonia's wine industry. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of residue generated and energy consumption. Apart from these environmental benefits, the system will also represent an economic saving for the wine cellars and therefore a competitiveness factor.
Returning to the Reuse Philosophy
Currently, reuse is a priority within Europe's hierarchy of residues, but is regressing in Catalonia. According to data from the Association of Beverage and Food Distribution and Logistics Companies of Catalonia (ADISCAT), in only the past six years the reuse of bottles has diminished by 36%.
At the moment, wine bottles are not reusable in any of the distribution channels, not even in hotels, restaurants or catering services, as happens with other beverage sectors, such as soft drinks and beers. For this reason, the reWINE project, launched by the UAB Research Park, the Waste Agency of Catalonia, Rezero - Catalan Foundation for the Prevention of Residues and Responsible Consumption, a spin-off from UAB Inèdit and Cooperativa Falset Marçà, with the support of the EU's LIFE programme, aims to identify the opportunities and barriers in reusing bottles from the wine sector.
The European Union also gives support to the need to invest in reusing bottles through the new Circular Economy Package, while the Government of Catalonia does so through its general prevention and management of residues and resources programme (PRECAT20) which sets down specific reuse objectives for beverage containers.