Vins Pravi and the reuse of glass containers for wine

Sustainable Development Goals

From the very beginning, Vins Pravi adopted reuse as a more efficient system than disposable containers, in addition to reducing purchasing costs and managing the purchase and storage of containers. The company always considered it should be selling wine rather than bottles, and we wanted to save our customers the cost of the container every time they bought a bottle. Glass bottles and carafes are a necessary means of selling our wines.

Our distribution system is what is nowadays called the deposit-return system (DRS). The wine is taken to the customer’s house and the customer pays a symbolic amount as a deposit, which is returned when the customer no longer needs the container. We use our own transport which collects the empty containers at the same time as delivering full ones. The containers are taken back to our facilities to be washed and filled again.

 

It is true that, due to increased mobility and global communications, plastic containers (and disposable glass ones) are a useful means of transporting our wines to far-off places where the return and refund system doesn’t reach. In this case, the container has to be recycled.

The use of plastic containers for packaging all kinds of products became widespread in the 1990s because of their low price, the reduction in storage space (because there was no need for space for empty and full containers) and the reduction in weight, which meant more goods could be transported at once. With this system, transport only needed to be one-way to reach the customer. Collection was not necessary..

At that time, in view of the advantage of disposable plastic and glass packaging, Vins Pravi considered adopting this system. However, with vision for the future and company founder Josep Prat’s experience of life in the countryside, where saving, respect for nature and solidarity are very important values, reuse was maintained as the main means of distributing and selling our wines. Josep Prat is convinced of the philosophy of reusing resources and getting the most from them during their useful life. For this reason, investment was made in renovating the industrial container washer and in a new packaging line. Including the washer, this makes up a single continuous process of washing and packaging wine in glass bottles.

This system is still used today and is one of the few bottle-washing and wine-packaging lines in existence in Catalonia. The DRS (deposit-return system) is also still used and is very important in minimising our carbon footprint, optimising product transport and bringing the empty, returned containers back to the washing plant in the same vehicle.

When Vins Pravi started to use this system, no-one was talking about the impact of packaging on the environment, or about pollution in natural areas and oceans, reducing waste, the carbon footprint or climate change. But Josep Prat’s vision has allowed us to become a model for study, reference and efficiency in the reWINE project, which Vins Pravi joined in 2018 and which this year (2020) has presented its results.

 

None of this would have been possible without the close cooperation of our customers, who, as well as enjoying our wines since the company began in 1964, have shown us with their loyalty that they share the vision and philosophy of our founder Josep Prat and Vins Pravi concerning reuse and respect for the environment.