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Sustainability Smackdown: Is Canned Wine or Bottled Wine Better for the Environment?

Lighter in your hand and on the planet, aluminum wins any way you pour it.

Headshot of Maker Blog author William Smith.

By Author: William Smith

April 20, 2022

Canned wine and Bottled Wine go head to head.

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For great winemakers, sustainability is just part of the job. To grow happy grapes, there’s no room for waste or shortcuts. From organic farming practices to their care for the vines, our winemakers know that the best wine is made in the vineyard. They put in the work for Mother Earth, and by choosing aluminum, so do we.

So, why are aluminum cans better for the environment? Well, they’re ultra-light, infinitely recyclable, and super space-efficient. Let this metalhead break it down for you.

Is glass or aluminum more recyclable?

That’s a pretty good question, but here’s a better one—Is glass or aluminum more recycled

See what I did there? It doesn’t matter much if something can be recycled, it matters if something is recycled. And let me tell you, aluminum is the queen of recycling. 

Our shiny metal friend is the most recycled material on the planet, and recycled in almost every county in the US. Thanks to its popularity, when you buy a “new” aluminum can, you’re buying  70% recycled material. So go ahead and crack another canned wine, you can sip easy knowing that same aluminum will be used again and again and again.

Okay, so, aluminum is great for recycling, but are glass bottles more environmentally friendly? 

Nope.

Sorry, but glass isn’t doing the environment any favors. Two-thirds of US counties don’t recycle it, and even if you do your eco due diligence by putting bottles in a blue bin, they will likely spend their 4000-year life span kicking back at a landfill in early retirement. 

What’s weight got to do with it?

News flash: aluminum is lighter than glass, like, hundreds of times lighter. Three of our canned wines weigh only half as much as a glass bottle, but they carry just as much vino. And let’s not forget that aluminum is stronger than glass too, so canned wines don’t need the heavy layers of insulation their more sensitive cousins need for transportation.

Don’t tell your fancy bottles that. Like I said, they’re ~sensitive.~

But what does all this have to do with sustainability? Simply put, the lighter the packaging, the happier the environment. 

A scale showing the equivalent wine weight of cans and bottled wine.

Our light, space-saving packaging means fewer trucks burning fuel for transportation and less real estate for storage—driving our carbon footprint down, down, down. Not to mention glass requires much more wasteful, protective packaging to ship safely.

Let's get nerdy for a second. Compared to glass, recycling a metric ton of aluminum saves over 300x the KW energy, 344x the amount of oil, and 5x the landfill space.

But reducing waste between you and the vineyard is just one eco-advantage of canned wine. When it arrives in your kitchen, their smaller portion size—⅓ of a bottle—means you don’t need to choose between pouring the last glass down the drain or having a headache in the morning.

Maybe the first R in 🎵Reduce, Reuse, Recycle🎵  was about hangovers this whole time…

Table showing the sustainability benefits of aluminum cans over glass bottles.

DTC📈 CO₂📉

Okay, that’s a lot of acronyms. What is this, business school? 

Let me take a breath.

The traditional wine supply chain leaves a whole damn trail of carbon footprints because of a little something called “the three-tier system”. It’s just a fancy way of saying that your wine has to pass from producer to wholesaler to retailer before living its best life on your countertop. As you may have guessed, all those extra steps mean more emissions and more wasted packaging. But there’s a better way—the Maker Wine way.

Maker Wine ships Direct-to-Consumer (that’s the DTC we’re talking about). We fill our cans at local wineries using a mobile canner—think the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, except it cans wine and doesn’t fly—and ship 6, 12, or 24 cans directly to peoples’ doors. Fewer steps, fewer emissions, and no environmentally-unfriendly middlemen between the vineyard and your tastebuds. 

If you love wine and the planet, try premium canned wine, and drink what you love without the waste. 

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