Recycling, Reusing and Sustainability

Guest Author

2 min read

Hmmm, it’s been quite some time since I wrote about recycling and sustainability!

In fact it was over 7 years ago since I last wrote anything about it! See these old posts if you like:

So what have I got to say for myself now? How is the reuse/recycling of bottles at Vinos Ambiz coming along?

Well on the one hand, it’s gotten a lot worse! Back in the old days (ie pre-2010) I used to delabel, wash and reuse 100% of my bottles. That’s because my production was so small – about 1000 bottles per year – that it was no bother to wash a few hundred bottles a session every few months. Also there was no alternative, because being illegal as I was, the bottle companies wouldn’t deliver any new bottles to me!

Then my production expanded, I had much more work to do – more vineyards to tend, more wines to make and look after – and so I didn’t have the time to wash and reuse old bottles. Also, I became a legal winery and so could take delivery of new bottles!

This used to annoy me a lot – that I was no longer reusing bottles. And in fact I used to delabel, wash and reuse tiny token symbolic lots of bottles whenever I accumulated around 20 or so old bottles. Ridiculous really (considering that I was now producing about 10,000 bottles a year!) but at least it kept my mind and memory thinking about the problem every now and then. I didn’t totally forget, even though in practice I was no longer recycling bottles.

Then a few months ago, around October last year, I came across a company that actually collects, delabels, washes, sterilizes, and packages and sells used bottles. I couldn’t believe it! But I contacted them and after getting the information, I ordered 2 pallets (1000 bottles) from them.

There were a few complications at first. The bottles had to be of the right height and width, because I already had several thousand cardboard boxes in the winery which would last me for years. So I had to ensure that they would send me the right model of bottle. The Bordeaux models (straight with pronounced ‘shoulders’ and a ‘neck’) are all pretty similar really, but a few millimetres here or there would mean that they wouldn’t fit into my boxes. I even got them to send me a box of 6 bottles, so that I could physically check that they fitted – not trusting myself to rely on mere measurements!

Anyway, it all worked out in the end, and the pallets duly arrived. I was also a bit worried that they might not be totally clean, but no worries there either. They looked, felt and smelt totally clean and  brand new. And they sent me a certificate ‘proving’ (somehow!) that they were completely free of bacteria or other impurities.

So, I am overjoyed really. Again I can use 100% reused/recycled bottles, like in the old days. Only this time I’ll be using 10,000 bottles/year as opposed to 1,000! I fully intend to order all my bottles form Infinity Reutiliza from now on. According to their webpage, they collect all the used wine bottles from the local bars and restaurants in the village of Villena, and a few other neighbouring villages. They then de-label them, classify them according to different models, wash them, sterilize them, and then package them up and sell them.

Here are some photos. Though it’s quite difficult to get excited about a bunch of old bottles!

Two pallets of new old bottles

Bottling up – only one pallet left