26 May, Sunday
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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Drink sustainably

Kirjoittanut: Irene Lai - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.



Let us say that it is finally Friday, and it is finally going to happen. You have a chilling, long-desired evening at home, only you, that armchair that you never have the time to enjoy and a movie that your friend three weeks ago suggested you absolutely watch. Only a bottle of wine could complete the set, but you know nothing about wines because this time it is only up to you, and it is your turn to choose it. How will you pick it? You do not need anything fancy, just something good and tasty. Not to waste any more time on this fortunate Friday, heading to Alko is in the meantime the best (and only) feasible option to buy some wine. How many tannins, should it be dry or sweet, or of course how colorful is the label on the bottle? All legit ways to choose a product. Depending on the situation, the factors that affect a customer’s choice in this matter can be quite a lot. Did you know that there are available options to choose sustainedly too? 

Wine is a suitable product to talk about because it is the kind of good that has long been associated with glass bottles, but as we know glass is a product that consumes a lot of energy and has low recycling rates. Are there alternatives though? Why are wine producers stuck with glass bottles? 

The goal of this essay is to explore how much effect on the carbon footprint a wine bottle has and to analyze not only some companies’ experience in this matter but also other sustainable and more environmentally friendly choices. 



Straight to the point 


Let us see first, what does it mean when someone is talking about Carbon Footprint? According to Mike Berners-Lee, a professor at Lancaster University in the UK (United Kingdom) and author of The Carbon Footprint of Everything, it is “the sum total of all the greenhouse gas emissions that had to take place in order for a product to be produced or for an activity to take place.” (Mulvaney, K. National Geographic 2022). Every choice that we make in our ordinary life, what we eat, what we buy, how we go to the gym has a consequence and affects these greenhouse emissions that Mike Berners-Lee was talking about. How a carbon footprint is calculated is not a matter of this essay but let us just say that calculators are always more present online and available for everyone. So, by filling in information such as for example, food consumption or everyday life habits this aim can provide everyone is interested an approximation of the amount of greenhouse emissions being emitted to support that kind of way to live. 

The carbon footprint of beverages for example is significantly influenced by beverage packaging and its production. It is simple to keep in mind that packaging has a lower impact on the environment the lighter and more recyclable it is. (Alko, 2022)  

In here and in picture one we can see carbon footprints of different wine packaging, based on studies that Alko conducted in the last two years: 

  • Big hard box wine dispenser 70 g CO2e/l 
  • Cardboard box of wine 85 g CO2e/l 
  • Wine plastic bag 96 g CO2e/l 
  • Aluminum can 190 g CO2e/l 
  • PET-plastic bottle 245 g CO2e/l 
  • Glass bottle (under 420 grams) 525 g CO2e/l 
  • Traditional glass bottle (about 540 grams) 675 g CO2e/l 

Picture 1: carbon footprints of different wine packaging (“Packaging is not a matter of taste, but a matter of climate” – Alkohttps://www.alko.fi/vastuullisesti/tuotteiden-vastuullisuus/juoman-pakkausmateriaalilla-on-merkittava-ilmastovaikutus) 


Alko itself used its research to make different campaigns out of it and to make people aware of the matter. 

“Wine does not always have to be packaged in glass bottles,” said Malin, the When in Rome company’s creator. The wine’s quality is unaffected by whether you are drinking it from a glass or paper bottle. (Redazione Mu, 2022). When in Rome is a company located in UK that wants to bring quality wine to the world in eco-friendly boxes.  

Unfortunately, it is in our collective imagination that a glass bottle of wine is more elegant than the one in cardboard box. Isn’t it? But it has not to be this way anymore since there is now a higher call than elegance to think about.  





Culturally speaking, I see that wine and glass bottles are still a strong pair to be separated so easily. There are undoubtful benefits to choosing wines with other packaging, but people may still tend to judge the quality of wine based on the packaging and on the elegance that the glass bottle recalls. 

If choosing more responsibly is still not enough, let us add some other pros too: wine in a cardboard box can stay fresh for up to six weeks once opened and it is not a luxury that we can have opening the normal bottle! 

It takes years to alter how people think, feel, and behave and so like every cultural change, it will take time before we see a real one. But luckily, as I could see working in Alko, people at least in Finland seems to be already quite careful on the matter. 

And what about you? Are you going to be attracted to different wine packaging next Friday evening? 





Alko, Alkoholijuomien hankintaketjun ympäristövaikutukset https://www.alko.fi/alko-oy/tavarantoimittajille/vastuullisuus-ja-tasapuolisuus/ymparistovaikutukset Read 23.11.2022 

Alko, 2022, Juoman pakkausmateriaalilla on merkittävä ilmastovaikutus, https://www.alko.fi/vastuullisesti/tuotteiden-vastuullisuus/juoman-pakkausmateriaalilla-on-merkittava-ilmastovaikutus Read 24.11.2022 

Alko, Packaging has a significant effect on the carbon footprint of a beverage https://www.alko.fi/en/alko-inc/about-alko/annual-report/carbon-footprint Read 03.10.2022 

Mulvaney, K., 2022, What is a carbon footprint—and how to measure yours, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-how-to-measure-yours Read 24.11.2022 

Redazione Mu, 2022, L’innovazione sostenibile per il vino passa dalla bottiglia di carta, https://www.meccanicanews.com/2022/10/17/linnovazione-sostenibile-per-il-vino-passa-dalla-bottiglia-di-carta/. Read 10.11.2022 

When in Rome, 2022, https://www.wheninromewine.com/ Read 24.11.2022 

  • Flóra Lang

    I really enjoyed reading this! I could really visualize your introduction and the connection from the intro to the rest of the essay was great. 🙂

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