Amcor Rigid Packaging (ARP) and Ron Rubin Winery have commercialized a 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) wine bottle. The companies worked together to develop the screw-top bottle, which features a silicon oxide (SiOx) barrier coating.
The winery recently launched its new line of Blue Bin wines, which includes 2022-vintage Vin Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, in the 750-mL rPET bottle.
ARP and Ron Rubin claim it is the first premium-wine bottle made completely from rPET to be released in the US. The Blue Bin name is a playful take on the origins of the rPET used to make the bottle, namely blue recycling bins.
Ron Rubin — a Sustainability in Practice Certified brand, Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery, and one of 33 Certified B Corp. wineries worldwide — performed a two-year assessment of wine packaging to develop a premium wine for environmentally conscious oenophiles.
The winery required wine packaging that would have a smaller carbon footprint than glass bottles but still protect wine against oxidation.
According to ARP, glass bottles generate 30% of wine’s carbon footprint and create the single largest environmental impact of the wine value chain. PET wine bottles are 85% lighter and produce one-third of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of glass bottles.
In addition to sustainability advantages, the new rPET bottle offers several consumer benefits. It’s lighter than glass and therefore easier to transport. And because the rPET bottle won’t shatter, it’s safer for outdoor occasions such as camping, beach outings, picnics, and poolside sipping.
rPET bottle's SiOx coating protects wine quality.
The rPET bottle also meets Ron Rubin’s product protection requirements, thanks to an ultra-thin, glass-like oxygen barrier coating applied to the inside of the bottle. The KHS InnoPET Plasmax barrier is a silicon oxide (SiOx) coating that keeps the wine from contacting the rPET, which is a more gas-permeable material than glass.
Oxygen cannot penetrate the SiOx barrier, so the wine is protected against oxidation and its quality and flavor are preserved.
“Both Ron Rubin and KHS completed extensive formal sensory testing to confirm the product retains its intended flavor profile,” Chris Kozak, sustainability marketing communication manager at Amcor, tells us.
As a hybrid packaging solution, the coated rPET bottle combines the product protection and shelf-life benefits of glass packaging with PET’s light weight and resistance to breaking.
In addition, the silicon oxide coating is transparent. The crystal clear rPET bottle showcases the colors of Blue Bin wines the same as glass. The coated bottle can be recycled along with standard PET and rPET bottles, as well.
In previous rPET bottle sustainability news from ARP, we reported on the company’s progress in lightweighting the bottle finish (threaded neck) of PET and rPET bottles. That lightweighting technology eliminates more than 50% of the material and weight in the bottle finish.