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Paper Vs Glass Wine Bottles

Aldi, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, has recently announced that they will be launching two of their own-label wines in paper bottles rather than the traditional glass. These bottles are a recent innovation in packaging technology, and have been in use for a few years with companies such as When In Rome and The English Vine adopting them, but their increased presence in UK supermarkets represents a significant movement in the packaging industry.

Why are companies interested in adopting this new technology?

The impact of waste and packaging on our environment is quickly becoming a larger part of the UK population’s priorities. Governments have made pledges to achieve various targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and waste is being scrutinised closer than ever. Companies are incentivised to find new ways to reduce their environmental impact across the board, and with this advancement on the table the question has been posed; will paper packaging over glass wine bottles make significant strides?

How is the paper wine bottle achieved on a technical level?

At this point, it is worth noting that the paper wine bottle isn’t strictly made from paper. The inside is comprised of a food-grade plastic pouch. Once the contents of the bottle have been emptied, this plastic pouch needs to be separated from the paper bottle in order to be recycled properly.

This is similar to boxed wine, although the advances in technology have allowed for the wine to be stored in a way that is logistically and aesthetically similar to the iconic bottle that remains so popular. They are available in Bordeaux shaped bottles; the advantages of which you can read more about on the Glassworks International blog. Boxed wine generally suffers from a stigma of being used for lower quality contents compared to glass bottles, which are often adapted to accentuate the prestige of high-quality wines.

How does the paper wine bottle compare to the glass wine bottle?

Starting with the similarities, the paper wine bottle accommodates the same shape as its glass counterpart. This allows it to be stored in similar styles and quantities, although the structural integrity of the bottle is weaker than glass. This raises problems for those looking to fill bottles in large volumes, as much investment has been made in machinery tailored to specific glass bottles. Minor deviations from the specifications they have been calibrated to can result in broken bottles and wasted stock. For fillers to adapt to paper wine bottles becoming more popular, there will need to be further investment made in filling technology.

For the contents of the bottles, glass provides a longer shelf life. Paper bottles advise 12 months to consume the contents, whereas glass generally advises 5 years, and if stored in the correct conditions, the wines can be stored for significantly longer. As mentioned previously, once the contents of the bottle are emptied, the consumer must separate the components of the paper wine bottle to recycle it. Such steps are not required for glass, which is still 100% infinitely recyclable and much easier to do so.

Where the paper wine bottle does have an advantage over its glass counterpart is the weight of the packaging. Glass is significantly heavier than the combination of paper and plastic, and where allowances must be made for weight, the paper wine bottle offers a viable solution. This is most likely to affect the distributors more than consumers, as accommodations need to be made when storing and transporting these in large quantities. Whether the weight advantage is enough to swing companies from glass wine bottles to paper wine bottles in volume remains to be seen.

Will the paper bottle continue to gain market share of packaging for wine?

As ever, it is difficult to say for certain what consumers will accept and what they will reject. At Glassworks International, we believe that the advantages offered by glass bottles are still a decisive factor over paper, although we will be keenly monitoring the uptake of the new technology.

Image copyright Aldi Press Centre.

By Grace Barnes


Grace Barnes has been with Glassworks International since 2021, with work covering a variety of sectors of the glass industry. Her specialisms are in logistics and in monitoring industry trends, in particular green initiatives being undertaken both by Glassworks International and by the industry as a whole.


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