Refillable Wine Bottles

Today is recycling day in Wanderland, and every week I haul a huge bin out to the street clinking with the telltale sounds of a *cough* healthy number of wine and beer bottles.
Now, I’m old enough to remember when soda bottles were glass and worth a nickel when you returned them for refill. Of course we don’t do that anymore because the bottles are plastic (that’s another rant…) but I wondered why on earth we didn’t refill beer and wine bottles since they’re not.

Wine bottles
Wine bottles by Matti Mattila, on Flickr

Well, once again, my feed reader spookily popped up an answer, as if it knew I was asking that very question today. (How does it know?!?!) And as it turns out, they still do this in Europe. In France, for instance, the average wine bottle is refilled 8 times before it’s recycled. (why are we supposed to hate France again? ’cause we’re jealous of their cheese??)
According to this oh-so-timely article, the biggest reason we Americans don’t do the same is because of the glue we use to hold the labels onto the bottles. (and anyone who’s ever tried to make the wine-bottle-tiki-torches will attest that is is some serious glue)
The article is written by a Canadian, but I don’t think their stats are that much different than ours when it comes to abysmal recycling numbers. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of hauling those bottles to the curb every week to be “recycled” (and having 3 out of 4 people just throw them away) we could take our bottles down to the local farmer’s market and refill them from a barrel?
Ok, yeah, I know I’m dreaming there, but don’t the best ideas start as dreams?

(oh, and be sure to read what the article has to say about tetra-pak wine. I admit I had no idea it was so hard near impossible to recycle that stuff. Yikes!

Or, you know, I could try making my own with next year’s mulberry crop…

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4 thoughts on “Refillable Wine Bottles

  1. I’ve been refilling wine bottles for years, though I guess it helps that my dad makes most of the wine I drink. That said, based on other alcohol-related laws in our fair state (in particular, the lack of legality for growlers), I’m guessing we’re a ways off from being able to legally refill wine bottles.

    • Lucky man… ; ) I about had a fit at the Strut this year when they said they were no longer using refillable cups. Totally not the organizer’s fault, but apparently it’s against health code to refill cups at a festival. It boggles the mind.

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