Once you finish your bottle of wine and toss it into the recycle bin do you ever wonder where it goes? It turns out that while in Europe wine bottles are often sterilized and reused. Here bottles, if they don’t end up in a landfill, end up going through a not-so-carbon-friendly process of being melted, molded and reformed into something else. Now one company wants to make wine bottle reuse a standard for America. Sonoma-based Wine Bottle Recycling has a goal of collecting and redistributing 3 million to 5 million cases’ worth of used wine bottles each year by sometime in 2010.
The company has secured a retired Del Monte fruit-canning plant in Stockton, California and plans a conveyor line with an optical sorting machine and a washing machine that can process over 70,000 bottles an hour. The sorting machine is necessary because while those 750 ml bottles may look similar there are actually around 400 different molds, differing slightly in glass thickness, nozzle length and all sorts of other tiny details that can make a big deal when bottles are being refilled and relabeled. Only around 20 of these styles make up the bulk of bottles but the machine will sort them all out. Bottles will be sterilized the day before shipment to a winery.
Getting the bottles may prove a challenge but starting in wine-friendly Northern California is a good start. According to a comprehensive article in the Bohemian the company plans drop-off “bottle shacks” around Northern California. Those dropping off wine bottles will be given a cash refund. Obviously getting restaurants, event centers and other large consumers in the mix is key. But the company promises to offer small wineries significant savings and every bottle that gets more than one use makes the world just a little greener.
By Deidre Woollard | Source :: www.luxist.com