Although recycling of packaging waste has been increased in the EU in recent years, the situation varies significantly between Member States; some countries such as Spain still recycle less than a third of their packaging waste. A large part of this waste stream is thus still being disposed in landfills and waste incinerators, causing significant emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic gases.
In Catalonia, glass beverage waste, notably of wine and Cava bottles, is an area of particular concern. The region produces 180 million wine bottles and 200 million Cava bottles annually. However, only 57% of these bottles are recycled with the rest, some 63.3 million bottles/ year, sent to landfill.
The main objective of LIFE-reWINE project is to design and implement a pilot system to boost bottle re-use in the wine sector of Catalonia. The project aims to prove that re-use is environmentally and economically feasible, and preferable to current management alternatives.
The project will: Carry out studies on: o Stakeholders involved in wine bottle production and consumption markets: wineries, household waste recycling centres (HWRC), restaurants, and food and wine retailers; and o The potential for wine bottle re-use in the Catalan market. Develop a reuse system for wine bottles in Catalonia comprising: o A collection network for used bottles from municipal HWRC, restaurants, food stores and wineries; o A cleaning process for used wine bottles, which will be less energy-intensive and consume less water and chemicals (thus generating less wastewater) than current techniques; and o A labelling system for re-used bottles, using a water-soluble label. Develop an incentives system to foster the use and return of (re)used bottles: o HWRC users: a discount on the municipal waste tax according to the annual visits bringing waste to HWRCs; and o Grocery store consumers: Free bottle of wine to consumers who return 20 empty bottles to stores. Carry out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on the proposed system.
The project will also implement a series of communication and awareness-raising actions to foster waste prevention and to promote the use of the LIFE-reWINE system. The project system is highly replicable and contributes directly to the implementation of the EU legislation and policy on waste, especially the Waste Framework Directive and its objective of recycling and re-using 50% by weight of household glass waste by 2020.
Expected results: Development of a glass packaging re-use system, making use of existing technology; Demonstration of the transferability and up-scaling potential of theproject; Processing 1 500 bottles under the new system; Generation of economic benefits to stakeholders by reducing operation costs; Deeper understanding of glass bottle re-use by regional and national administrations and the creation of an excellent basis for decision-making; 500 civil society organisations in Catalonia, Spain and elsewhere in Europe informed on the LIFE-reWINE system, along with up to one million citizens in Catalonia; Creation of new jobs; Contribution to decreased CO2 emissions in the wine sector (to be assessed by LCA); and Dissemination of project results in different media, organisation of visits, workshops and information days, and the creation of a network of stakeholders interested in promoting glass bottle re-use at national and European level.