Lightweighting and Bulk Importation

The project has worked extensively with stakeholders in the wine supply chain, and in particular retailers, brand owner, fillers and the UK glass manufacturers, to highlight the benefits of bulk importation of wine for UK filling and lightweighting. The project has supported retailers and brand owners in the development of these opportunities and in addressing barriers which could prevent initiatives reaching the market. Key barriers addressed through the project have been the effect of UV and bulk importation on wine quality, CO 2 impact of wine transportation, lightweight bottle strength and consumer perceptions of lightweighted bottles.

Through representation at seminars, conferences and stakeholder meetings, along with project newsletters and press releases, significant profile has been given to bulk importation of wine for UK filling and the lightweighting agenda.

Project Achievements

The project has identified and supported more than 10 initiatives for bulk importation of wine for UK filling and lightweighting and these are summarised in this report. In addition, the project has gained commitment from many companies from the wine supply chain and has the momentum to engage further in bulk importation of wine for UK filling and lightweighting. The project has achieved glass savings from the UK waste stream of approximately 11,397 tonnes/annum and an associated carbon emissions saving of some 7,810 tonnes of CO 2 .

Bulk importation of wine for UK filling has increased by approximately 79 million 75cl bottles (from 120 million to 199 million 75cl bottles during the project period). This move has consumed an additional 23,930 tonnes/annum of recovered glass back into closed loop recycling i.e. using recycled glass to make new wine bottles in the UK.

The additional use of recycled glass will save approximately 7538 tonnes of CO 2 . In addition, from the Life Cycle Emissions study (section 5.4) it has been reported that when bulk importing and filling in the UK in a standard weight 75cl wine bottle from Australia (majority of wines filled in the UK are from southern hemisphere) there is 164g CO 2 per 75cl wine bottle saving. Based on 79 million 75cl additional units per annum this would equate to approximately 12,950 tonnes of CO 2 . Therefore, bulk importation of wine for UK filling has saved in the order of 20,495 tonnes of CO 2 .

Additional Research Overview

Beyond achievement of delivery of tonnage savings, the project has delivered a number of pieces of research including:

  • champagne and sparkling wine bottles - an assessment of the commercial and technical barriers to lightweighting Champagne, sparkling wine and semi sparkling wine bottles;
  • consumer perceptions of lighter weighted wine bottles - an assessment of the correlation between the consumer's perception of wine value and the bottle design and weight;
  • effect of ultraviolet light on wine quality - a desktop study reporting on the effect of UV on wine quality, the effect of reducing glass thickness due to lightweighting and how UV protection can be maintained;
  • life cycle emissions of wine imported to the UK - a desktop study to investigate the CO 2 impact of wine transportation, both bottled at source and bulk importation and then UK filled in lightweight bottles;
  • lightweight glass containers - a study to investigate the strength of wine bottles and how lightweight bottles perform against standard weight bottles in term of strength and fitness for purpose; and
  • shipping wine in bulk - a desktop study to investigate the effect on quality when shipping wine in bulk and logistical benefits.


This study has both raised awareness of the benefits of bulk importation and lightweighting and delivered significant savings. In order to maintain the momentum created during the project and encourage further uptake of its achievements, significant advocacy work should be continued. This could include further events, one-to-one contact with retailers, brand owners, fillers, international glass manufacturers, the development of case studies, and trade press articles highlighting the achievements under the project.

In addition the advocacy role would require working closely with groups and/or individuals that have been briefed on the project and were familiar with all the supporting research that has been undertaken. This would necessitate the advocates to undergo training and support by the project team. This process would need to be closely managed to ensure the correct message is being disseminated, and engagement in glass packaging reduction and bulk importation of wine for UK filling continues to grow. Also, there will be a requirement to continue the monitoring of the impact of the project.


British Glass would like to acknowledge the support of all elements of the supply chain without which this project would have not have been possible. The Project Steering Group and WRAP's Retail and Manufacturing teams deserve specific mention for their commitment and involvement in the project and contribution to its many successes. Special thanks are also extended to Oakdene Hollins for their contributions throughout and to theUniversity of Wales, Bangor, and the University of Sheffield, for their expertise in the specialist studies produced.


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