Waitrose is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint and consumers’ product wastage by selling its small wine formats in aluminium cans instead of glass bottles.

Expected to save 320 tonnes of packaging in its first year, the change will apply to all of Waitrose’s small-format wine ranges, the only exceptions being Champagne, Prosecco and Cava, and Rioja due to appellation restrictions.

“We’re delighted to pioneer this move and make reducing waste even easier for our customers,” says Barry Dick, manager of MW, Beer, Wine and Spirit Bulk Sourcing at Waitrose. “Aluminium cans weigh significantly less than glass and create less than half the amount of CO2 than the equivalent single-use glass bottle; cans can also be recycled an infinite number of times.”

Reportedly, nearly three million small bottles of still and sparkling wine were purchased from Waitrose by consumers last year, and the complete shift into aluminium cans – effective from 15th January – is expected to save over 300 tonnes of glass packaging.

“We know that more people are buying their drinks in canned formats from cocktails on the go to craft beer which is why making this shift in our wine category makes so much sense,” Dick continued. “Picking up a can of wine is a great way to enjoy wine in moderation, especially if you’re heading to a picnic or a social occasion; it also enables customers to try a new variety without worrying about wastage or cost.

“We hope the move will encourage suppliers to continue to develop a diverse and exciting range of wines in cans.”

In our recent interview with Ian Batt, winemaker and founder of Small Things Wine, he outlined the further benefits of canned wine, including portability, reduced supply chain costs, and compatibility with packaging restrictions, such as Western Australia’s ban on single-use plastic cups for cold drinks.

Meanwhile, Berlin Packaging’s carbon-neutral wine bottle, produced using renewable energy sources for the Aurelia brand, was nominated as a finalist under the ‘Climate’ category at the Sustainability Awards 2022.