We talk a lot in the wine world about clever packaging but what we really need to be talking about is clever packing–environmentally responsible packing material that is.
Like hotels not washing your sheets and towels every day, this is an example where business profit-maximization and environmentalism are aligned. Hundreds of thousands of cases of wine have no doubt been shipped across the country in this Year I of direct shipping and many gift boxes are set to fly with the holidays approaching. Wineries and shops that ship directly to consumers would be well advised to consider other alternatives to Styrofoam.
MacArthur Beverages in Washington charges $12 for the shipping materials plus UPS rates to ship. Astor Wines in New York City by contrast charges only the UPS rates for out of the NYC orbit (delivery can be free in and around the city). What’s the difference?
Astor, which is developing their organic and biodynamic section, also has a “green” approach to shipping. They ship wine with cardboard inserts to cushion the bottles. While they may make sacrifices to other line items of their cash flow, I wouldn’t be surprised if a main savings was the fact that these shippers can be stacked efficiently (see photo), unlike Styrofoam, before they are boxed and shipped.
So, shippers: think green and ditch the Styrofoam (especially peanuts, which deserve a special place in Dante’s inferno). And wine buyers: the shipping container is not going to make or break your order but if possible, let the shipper know there are alternatives out there. And if you do end up with some Styrofoam, try to take it back to a store where they can re-use it.
Paul Simon already had is Kodachrome taken away. Now let’s banish Styrofoam too.