In our family one of our traditions is to take part in the California Coastal Cleanup. Last month was the first International Coastal Cleanup for which we headed out to Salmon Creek to join the throngs scouring the beach for trashy treasures. We helped contribute to 734,606 lbs of trash and recyclables being cleaned form beaches throughout California!
As per usual we picked up a lot of trash at the beach this year (including the county-record setting hot water tank that we dragged out of the brush). The part that resonated with me the most was the deluge of plastic packaging and particularly, the tiny scraps of persistent styrofoam. I spent 30 minutes in 1 square yard of sand pulling out hundreds of pellets of styrofoam. It was as rewarding to clean up as it was heartbreaking to face the realties of our footprint. How many times have I ordered something on Amazon only to be crushed by the mass of plastic bags and styrofoam packaging it’s delivered in?
As you’ve probably inferred by now, I’m the archetype of an environmentally woke Californian; at home we stress about the plastic packaging surrounding our tofu, and in the studio Sonoma Bottle is powered by 100% renewable energy.
Back at work in the studio, I’m finding myself encouraged by the thoughtfulness of the winemaking community around me. It appears I’m not the only one concerned with wasteful packaging as the Sonoma / Napa beverage industry in general does a pretty incredible job of choosing environmentally sound packaging.
Honestly, I would have thought that economics would drive producers towards a polymer based logistics solution…but a quick check on uline.com shows that pulp shippers are actually cheaper AND more customizable…not to mention that the consumer facing benefits far outweigh the difference…
The art, culture, and mythology of winemaking is what we’re all selling here, and packaging is how we make first contact with the consumer base. So much effort is put into label art, glass selection, tops, and of course bottle shots. On the logistics end, particularly for those with wine clubs, materials choice must be an integral component of the marketing decision.
After all, some of the top consumer generated content on Youtube is “unboxing” videos.
Styrofoam (Polystyrene) is known animal carcinogen, and the EPA ranks polystyrene manufacturing as the 5th worst global industry in terms of hazardous waste creation. (5Gyres.com).
As with many locations throughout the country, styrofoam is NOT RECYCLABLE in Sonoma or Marin (http://www.recyclenow.org/recycling/recycling_guide.asp).