Cheers to the environment: How Sustainable Wine Solutions are helping the circular economy

By Elizabeth Sprake, Sustainable Wine Solutions

Sustainable Wine Solutions were delighted to join the SRA team last week to showcase our Zero Waste wine range and our U.K. first Bottle Return Scheme, as part of their team-building day. Our discussion and tasting covered everything from orange wine to the zero waste movement to COP26, as we explained our evolution from retail to wholesale, from our roots in Borough Market to being a sustainable wine service provider for on & off trade.

From our pioneering wine-on-tap Refill barrels to a U.K. first Bottle Return Scheme, everything we do is focussed around sustainability. This is why we were delighted to reintroduce ourselves to the SRA as Sustainable Wine Solutions (the wholesale evolution of Borough Wines) and explain our commitment to the circular economy through our Bottle Return Scheme (reuse) and Wine-on-Tap systems (refill).

But what is the Circular Economy? 

The Circular Economy is an economic system that prioritises sustainable growth. It aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible eliminating waste and pollution. It’s also something we bang on about quite a bit here at SWS!

These concepts underpin how we do business. As a result, we’ve made REUSE vital to every step of the wine lifecycle: from vineyard to winery, packaging to transport, bottling to end of life.

Relying on just recycling doesn’t cut it for us. Although it’s a valuable tool, it’s far from the only way to contribute to the circular economy. Keeping our resources in a cycle of reuse for as long as possible saves the energy expended on transporting, processing and reassembling products before it’s absolutely necessary.

So what are we doing about it?

The SWS approach to reuse and the circular economy includes:

  • Sustainable suppliers. We work with suppliers who use regenerative approaches to viticulture: organic fertilisers sourced from their own land, solar panels, electric vehicles: the list goes on.
  • Importing in bulk. A higher ratio of wine to container means less energy consumption in transportation.
  • Reusable kegs for Wine-on-Tap. Unique to the UK, we provide the on & off trade with 20-25L & 10L kegs (VinoTap™) that can be reused without the need for disassembling & for collection and processing by specialist recycling services.
  • Refill bottles for Wine-on-Tap. We provide Zero Waste & sustainable focussed off-trade premises with refill swing-top bottles for customers to use again and again.
  • The Bottle Return scheme. A convenient & elegant way to incorporate reuse with the traditional cork sealed bottle. Each bottle can be returned to us for sanitising and reuse.
  • Fully reverse logistics. Every time we make a delivery, we’re also making a collection. None of our vehicles hit the roads empty & we maximise what we can deliver with lighter bottles and of course our kegs.

Because our products are so flexible we can accommodate high volume venues for whom ease of service, convenience & low noise pollution are key (for instance Camino London, Tommy Tucker Pub) as well as smaller Zero Waste shops (Zero Muda, Harriets of Hove), Shops & Delis (The Larder, Superette) or smaller Restaurants (Fat Macys, Engine Social) as well as Wine Merchants (Brigitte Bordeaux, The Good Shed).

The way we work, there are no wasted journeys for delivery or collection, no wasted wine and a full embrace of the circular economy. Keeping our products in use as long as possible and treating recycling as a last resort shouldn’t be this revolutionary.

Are you ready to make the circular economy part of your wine list? Get in touch today!

Cheers to the environment!

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