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Study reveals bag-in-box as greenest choice

Bio Intelligence Service has carried out a study for the Swedish and the Norwegian alcohol retail monopolies, Systembolaget and Vinmonopolet, to assess the environmental impact of various wine packaging solutions.

Five different types of wine packaging and volumes sold in Sweden and Norway were considered: 75cl and 37.5cl PET bottles; 75cl and 37.5cl glass bottles, 10-, 5-, 3-, 2- and 1.5-litre bag-in-box sizes; 3-, 1.5- and 1-litre pouches; and 1-litre, 75cl, 50cl and 25cl cartons.

In addition to Systembolaget and Vinmonopolet, packaging manufacturers for each pack type were invited to participate in the study, sharing primary data and costs. These were Elopak, Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box/Vitop and Tetra Pak – as well as one importer, Oenoforos. All six partners equally shared the cost.

There is no perfect ecological packaging, and the results from this study are, of course, specific to wines being transported to the Nordic market. The object was to identify and quantify the impacts of alternative wine packaging solutions and which stages of the life cycle give rise to the impacts. Also, to understand the drivers determining the life cycle impacts, to identify and investigate potential improvement opportunities for each solution, and to carry out an ISO-compliant comparative assessment of the packaging systems.

The comparative environmental assessment of the wine packaging systems was performed through Life Cycle Assessment methodology according to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. And three independent experts – RDC Environment, JF Patingre and Innventia – assessed the results.


• Download a PDF of the executive summary




1 March 2011 - Felicity Murray