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Refillable wine bottles come to Sonoma County

Growing up in a small Northern California agricultural town I have always had an affinity for local community and reuse. My mother harvested many meals from our large vegetable garden, and nothing went to waste. We purchased from local vendors and learned self-reliance through our 4-H clubs and FFA communities.

As I began to travel around the world, I started seeing many examples of reuse through refillable glass beverage container systems across Europe, Central and South America, and Asia. Returning home, I kept asking: “what happened to our US-based refillable glass bottle systems, and what can I do to bring back this logical circular packaging solution?”

“What happened to our US-based refillable glass bottle systems, and what can I do to bring back this logical circular packaging solution?”

“What happened to our US-based refillable glass bottle systems, and what can I do to bring back this logical circular packaging solution?”

This is why I founded Conscious Container: To build a refillable glass bottle system across our US infrastructure and economy. With our initial investment, we are now launching a bottle washing infrastructure business right here in Sonoma County to enable beverage producers, starting with wineries, the opportunity to bring a refillable bottle into their business operations.

Our local and regional California wineries are acutely aware of climate change, implementing carbon emission reduction strategies across every possible aspect of their operations. For many wineries, the last mile is now in their packaging of choice, the glass bottle. When it comes to the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine, the glass bottle alone holds 18% to 30%, even up to 50%, of the carbon footprint. With a refillable glass bottle in a mature system, a winery can experience up to a 95% reduction in carbon footprint compared to their current single-use glass bottle.

A refillable bottle system is also about how we support local wineries that are having a challenge sourcing bottles due to supply chain constraints. As we launch Conscious Container, we will be tapping into the excess bottles from larger wine production lines, diverting perfectly good wine bottles into our operation for washing, inspection, and sale to local wine producers. This refillable bottle option will allow us to collectively shift from a single-use ‘waste’ package to a reusable ‘asset’ package. Currently, across the United States, over 75% of glass bottles end up in landfills.

As we started to bring this business model forward, the Conscious Container team and I have been impressed with the passion and excitement from local wineries here in Sonoma and Napa counties. Many wineries want to be the first movers into a refillable wine bottle system. Whether it’s purchasing refillable bottles which will dramatically reduce their carbon emission to wineries implementing tasting room and direct-to-consumer programs to get those wine bottles back for washing and reuse, most wineries know it's the right thing to do.

The sense of urgency local and regional winemakers share with our mission to take action against climate change is tangible. This is a community coming together, with our help, to enable a sustainable solution to reduce their single-use packaging waste and carbon emissions while creating a regionally resilient ecosystem for glass bottle supply. Here we go…

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