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Home Recycling Can we go green with our bottles of red and white?

Can we go green with our bottles of red and white?

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Gus Clemens, Special to the Reporter-News
Published 5:00 p.m. CT Jan. 29, 2019

Gus Clemens. (Photo: Contributed photo)

Wine bottles are a major source of domestic glass trash, why don’t we recycle them?

First, some municipalities do recycle glass, and some wine bottles are made with recycled glass. E.&J. Gallo—the world’s largest family-owned wine operation — has operated a glass recycling program since 1958. Gallo Glass is the largest consumer of recycled glass in California, purchasing more than 30 percent of all the glass recycled in the state. More than 50 percent of Gallo wine bottles are made with recycled glass.

The recycling process involves grinding glass into “cullet,” which is then sold to glass manufacturers. Manufacturers prefer to use recycled glass because it takes less energy to melt and generates far fewer emissions. So what’s the problem?

More: Gus Clemens: Not all wines are made to be aged

More: Gus Clemens: What makes a wine age well?

More: Gus Clemens: How to be a wine snob and not turn people off

There are several. Wine bottles often are dyed green or brown, even blue and other colors, and must be sorted either by the consumer — which can be problematic — or the recycling facility, which adds expense.

Additionally, glass is heavy, making it cost-prohibitive to transport to distant recycling facilities. For large communities, with plenty of glass and located near a glass recycling plant, recycling makes sense. For smaller communities away from recycling plants, the economics just don’t work.

In an ideal world, all your empty wine bottles would come back to you later as a new wine bottle. I hate to break the glass truth to you. We don’t live in an ideal world.

Tasting notes:

Last round: Wine improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.

Email Gus at wine@cwadv.com. Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine. Twitter: @gusclemens. Website: gusclemensonwine.com.

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