When we started BOXT, we knew we wanted to change the conversation and experience around fine wine in the US – taking the exclusivity out of wine-speak and bringing equity to the conversation and business of wine – we also wanted to be part of the solution to climate change and environmental sustainability in the wine industry. We’re on a mission to change the perception in the US that an energy-intensive bottle is the only way to drink good wine. Don’t get us wrong here, we’re not slamming bottles, we want BOXT to be your house wine, that glass you go to on Tuesday night because it’s just so good and so easy. We want you to have bottles around too. It’s not an either or decision, because there’s room, and need, for more options at the table.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHIPPING
Okay, it’s also about the small recycling problem we have here in the US, but we’ll get to that in a minute. We all know that bottles are heavy – and that means heavy to ship, but what does that look like when we talk about their carbon footprint?
As reported in the New York Times by Tyler Coleman, “Glass bottles are the largest source of the wine industry’s carbon footprint.” One single standard 750ml bottle of wine, when trucked from California, Oregon or Washington (where 90% of all US wine is produced) to a restaurant or wine shop in New York (the second largest consumer of wine after only California), creates about 5 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions. A box of wine (which holds the same as four bottles) creates half the emissions of that single bottle.
THE SECRET ALL WINE DRINKERS NEED TO KNOW
Most wines don’t need to be in a bottle. We think of wine as needing a bottle to age well, and that is true, but only about 3 percent of all the wines produced each year are made to be aged. That leaves 97 percent of wines that are meant to be drunk within a year or less of production. In one year, according to Coleman, “Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.” That’s a great argument for boxed wine. Especially given that once tapped, boxed wine stays fresh for up to six weeks, unlike that bottle you opened last night that’s already a little bit off.
We’re all pretty good about recycling, and we feel pretty good about tossing that bottle in the blue bin. What many people don’t know is that recycling here in the US isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – it’s a great idea but a flawed system. When, in 2018, China stopped accepting 24 kinds of solid waste from the rest of the world, the US lost its ability to get rid of most of our recycling, which left many counties – recycling programs are run at a local level – simply taking their residents’ recycling to the landfill.
SURPRISING RECYCLING FACTS
- Over 3 billion wine bottles go to landfill in the US every year – Bruce Schneider, founder of Gotham Project, a company specializing in kegged wine and reusable bottles.
- 68% of the carbon footprint of wine comes from wine packaging and transport, namely in the export of heavy 750 ml glass bottles. Grape growing contributes 15% and wine making contributes 17%. – Dr. Richard Smart (one of the world’s most sought after viticultural scientists. For more on wine and climate change go here.
- According to the EPA, of the 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste generated by Americans in 2017, only 94.2 million tons were recycled or composted – that’s a mere 35%. – Read more about the recycling problem in the US.
- Only 31 percent of glass is recycled in the US as of 2020. – https://www.epa.gov/
THE ROLE OF BOXT
Here at BOXT, every day we’re talking about our environmental impact and we are continually hard at work refining a BOXT that will further reduce our carbon footprint and still provide a luxury experience for our members. We’re always optimizing while we learn and grow, and as a start up, we’re nimble enough that each day we’re making small decisions and changes around choosing the right things for our members’ experience, the product and the environment. We’re proud to say we’ve partnered with Native.eco to offset our carbon emissions and from the start, we’ve planted a tree for every BOXT we make. In 2022 we will launch our refillable BOXT – fulfilling one of our biggest early-stage environmental goals.
We continue to learn and as we learn, we will continue to dial in how we can minimize our footprint and maximize your enjoyment.
So simply by drinking BOXT you’re helping reduce carbon emissions and helping create a solution to climate change. We know, sounds big for just pouring yourself a glass at the end of the day, but it’s true and it’s a glass half-full way to look at things.
Save the planet one BOXT at a time.