Green glass


in Geek stuff, The environment

Apparently, the United Kingdom is the world’s largest importer of green glass. This is for the simple reason that the UK is the world’s largest importer of wine, bringing in over one billion litres a year and producing almost none. As such, the green glass piles up. There is so much of it that it can only be recycled in inefficient ways, such as grinding it up to use in road surfaces. Doing this uses more energy and resources than making the roads out of other materials and putting the green glass into landfills.

The easiest answer is to make wine bottles out of clear glass that can be recycled into a wider variety of things. Since that doesn’t seem to suit people’s tastes, wineries have come up with an alternative system. They import the wine in 24,000 litre containers (which saves on shipping costs as well) and then use it to fill up the bottles responsible Britons have been leaving at their curbsides for years. If you are curious what a tank of that size resembles, have a look at this page.

Something to consider, next time you are enjoying a bottle of your favourite vintage.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Kushnir June 19, 2007 at 4:39 pm

hm. maybe the EU should start subsidizing english vinyards.

now that’s a scary thought…it’s probably treason to suggest in this country.

actually…is there such thing as english wine that you’ve heard of?


Tom June 19, 2007 at 6:03 pm

The English specialize in beer.

Mike Kushnir June 19, 2007 at 11:40 pm

oh, i was just kidding about wine subsidies. the treason bit might just be true though in france.

R.K. June 19, 2007 at 11:28 pm

“Too many wine subsidies are, moreover, a reward for failure. Currently, about half a billion euros are spent annually distilling unwanted wine and by-products into industrial alcohol, out of a total EU wine budget of €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) a year. Some wine is produced more or less exclusively for destruction, complains Mrs Fischer Boel (herself a farmer’s wife). That is “not sustainable”, she says. Under her plans, the budget would be steered towards promoting European wines in new markets overseas, and fostering a wider range of businesses in winemaking regions (lots of museums and tourist wine routes).”


Neal June 22, 2007 at 12:13 am

Crushed glass has good drainage properties and makes excellent backfill against building foundations where drainage is an issue. I don’t know if it is preferable from an environmental standpoint to drainrock. It probably takes a similar amount of energy to make from glass bottles as drainrock from quarried gravel.

Anon June 25, 2007 at 10:53 pm

On the splintering of environmentalism:


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: