In 2010 the Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa approved the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for the â€˜South African Wine of Originâ€™ certificate. Since then the manufacture of PET plastic wine bottles for use locally and internationally has grown because of the benefits of plastic packaging.
â€œOne of the most common questions from consumers when faced with a wine bottle made of plastic is, â€˜will the quality be the sameâ€™,â€ says Jonathan Musikanth from Mpact Plastics.
Most importantly for the consumer, it has been proven that PET wine bottles do not affect the quality and taste of the wine in any way. The Mpact PET design prevents the absorption of oxygen into the bottle, giving the wine a shelf life in excess of two years. In economic terms, plastic wine bottles are on average eight times lighter than a traditional glass bottle. A PET bottle weighs 50g compared to its glass counter partâ€™s 400g.
The result of this lighter packaging is that up to 36 percent more product can be transported from the manufacturing plant to the customer because the bottles required substantially less space and trucks can be fully loaded. Heavier packaging options are often constrained by road weight limitations, leading to inefficient transport.
Internationally there has been a trend towards plastic wine bottles. Mpact recently won the Gold Pack Trophy for a plastic wine bottle designed for JetBlue, an American airline.
â€œThe airline required plastic wine bottles for both safety and transport reasons. For an airline, plastic wine bottles make the most economic sense,â€ says Musikanth. â€œWine will be consumed at a quick rate on an airline and for its business purposes light-weight material that canâ€™t break is of paramount importance.â€
In addition, the Georgian Green 750ml PET bottle launched by Simonsvlei won a prestigious WorldStar award in 2011 from the World Packaging Organisation.
Environmentally, there is also a strong argument for the use of plastic wine bottles. It takes approximately 53g of carbon emissions to produce a PET bottle produces compared to glass, which uses approximately 89g. There is also much lower energy consumption during manufacture and transport, 13.7MJ compared to 25.4MJ diesel.
â€œAside from genuine collectors of wine, the majority of wine is bought for immediate consumption, which makes plastic packaging a perfect solution,â€ adds Musikanth. â€œThe bottles are virtually unbreakable, light weight to transport, can be used in outdoor venues and the wine tastes exactly the same when poured into a wine glass.â€
Mpact is a leading southern African paper and plastics packaging group with revenues of R6.2bn in 2011. Mpact employs 3,500 people at 29 sites, of which 22 are manufacturing sites. Mpact earns approximately 10% of its sales outside of South Africa. It also has plants in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Mpact has the number one market position in corrugated packaging, recycled-based cartonboard and containerboard, recovered paper collection, PET preforms, styrene trays and plastic jumbo bins. These accounted for approximately 90% of its revenue in 2011.
FTI Consulting â€“ Strategic Communications
Lianne Osterberger +27 (0) 11 214 2414 / +27 (0)83 27 27 313
Chloe Webb +27 (0) 11 214 2421 / +27 (0)83 305 0144
Communications Manager, Mpact +27 (0) 11 994 5500 / +27 (0)76 650 4155