Green tip for week #34 — Week of December 21, 2008

Drink boxed wine

Okay, I can guess what you are thinking: “This website is supposed to help us all save the planet by incorporating weekly green tips; how will drinking wine save the planet??” Read on, grasshopper.

Truth be told, drinking more wine won’t necessarily save the planet. However, if you are a fan of drinking wine already, and you currently consume the “high-brow stuff” out of a glass bottle (as opposed to wine you made by fermenting grapes in an ice tea pitcher), you can certainly reduce your environmental impact by a simple change to boxed wine.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “has this guy ever had boxed wine, that stuff is horrible.” Yes, I’ve had boxed wine. There are good and bad boxed wines, just as there are with any other food or drink available. In years past, it was difficult to find decent wine-in-a-box. Boxed wine was usually just the cheap stuff, and often was considered about as high quality as Boone’s Farm (no offense to those who imbibe the Boone’s Farm).

Now, you can find a wide variety of qualities of boxed wine, many of which are quite good. Here are some of the environmental benefits of boxed wine: 1) reduced environmental impact from manufacturing, transporting and recycling bottles; 2) reduced overall waste (most boxes contain the equivalent of 3-4 bottles of wine, meaning less energy expended in production, transportation, label printing, recycling); 3) less weight per mL wasted in packaging means less energy consumed in transportation.

What are some good options in a boxed wine? What is available in your local store or region may vary, but depending on price-point, there are reasonable offerings from Bota Box, Turning Leaf, Hardy’s, Corbett Canyon, Wine Block, Black Box, Fish Eye, and others (feel free to post a comment with your favorites).

Note that some boxed wine producers (such as Bota Box) take environmental responsibility very seriously, by using recycled paper, using alternatives to glue for manufacturing the box, using soy based ink for printing, etc. Many of the boxes are fully recyclable.

A tremendous benefit of boxed wine is that it can maintain freshness and quality for weeks, rather than days. This means you can open several varieties at a party or gathering, and not worry if all of them are only half-consumed. You can save them for another day. Also, the square packaging and light weight lend themselves well to bringing wine on your camping trip, taking a box along on a picnic, or other times bottled wine is not all that convenient.

If you’re still not convinced, you should note that sources even more credible than (is there really such a thing?) are singing the praises of boxed wine. Click here for an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times identifying the many benefits of boxed wine.

So what have we learned this week? Well, drinking wine may not save the planet. However, for those of legal drinking age, drinking boxed wine as opposed to its glass-bottled counterparts is a great way to tell people you’ve taken one new step toward environmental responsibility (and a tasty way to do it!).

Feel free to comment to this post if you’d like to offer suggestions to our readers about your favorite boxed wines, and please drink responsibly.


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