Refillable wine bottles are coming to Sonoma County

Growing up in a small farming town in Northern California, I’ve always had an affinity for local community and reuse. My mother harvested many meals from our large vegetable garden and nothing was wasted. We bought from local suppliers and learned self-reliance through our 4-H clubs and FFA communities.

When I started to travel around the world, I started to see many examples of reuse through refillable glass beverage container systems across Europe, Central and South America and the Asia. Back home, I kept asking, “what happened to our US-based refillable glass bottle systems, and what can I do to bring this logical circular packaging solution back?” “

“What happened to our US-based refillable glass bottle systems, and what can I do to bring this logical circular packaging solution back?”

That’s why I founded Conscious Container: to build a refillable glass bottle system into our infrastructure and economy in the United States. With our initial investment, we are now launching a bottle washing infrastructure business right here in Sonoma County to enable beverage producers, starting with wineries, to integrate a refillable bottle into their business operations.

Our local and regional California wineries are acutely aware of climate change, implementing strategies to reduce carbon emissions in every possible aspect of their operations. For many wineries, the last mile is now in their preferred packaging, the glass bottle. Regarding the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine, the glass bottle alone holds 18% to 30%, even up to 50% of the carbon footprint. With a refillable glass bottle in a mature system, a winery can benefit from up to 95% reduction in its carbon footprint compared to its current single-use glass bottle.

A refillable bottle system is also about how we support local wineries that are struggling to stock up on bottles due to supply chain constraints. As we launch Conscious Container, we will be tapping into excess bottles from major wine production lines, diverting perfectly good wine bottles to our operation for washing, inspection and sale to local wine producers. This refillable bottle option will allow us to collectively move from single-use “waste” packaging to reusable “asset” packaging. Currently, in the United States, more than 75% of glass bottles end up in landfills.

As we began to push this business model forward, the Conscious Container team and I were impressed with the passion and enthusiasm of local wineries here in Sonoma and Napa counties. Many wineries want to be the first to adopt a refillable wine bottle system. From purchasing refillable bottles that will dramatically reduce their carbon emissions to wineries implementing tasting room and direct-to-consumer programs to reclaiming those bottles of wine for washing and reuse , most wineries know this is the right thing to do.

The sense of urgency that local and regional winemakers share with our mission to act against climate change is tangible. This is a community coming together, with our help, to enable a sustainable solution to reduce their single-use packaging waste and carbon emissions while creating a resilient regional ecosystem for bottle supply. glass. Here we are…

About Michael Brafford

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