More Greenwashing from Ontario's Liquor Store: "Cheerpacks"


The Liquor Control Board of Ontario was established in 1927 after Prohibition to do what its name says- control liquor consumption. 82 years later its mandate has evolved, and now its purpose is to make as much money as possible for the Government, turning it into one of the world's largest buyers of wine and liquor. It has been a big promoter of alternative packaging to reduce landfill waste and get more product on the shelves, and TreeHugger has whined about its Tetra-paks and bag-in-box wines before. Now they have a new item on the shelf, Australian wine in "Cheer packs", and it is possibly the most questionable yet.

cheerpack rear photo

There is no question that the package is light, costs less to ship, and has "superior disposability"- it squeezes down to a flat sheet and won't take up much space in a landfill, I could mail it back to Australia in a No. 10 envelope, it is so minimal. But the manufacturer's website describes it as "fully recyclable". In what universe? it is "made from a multi-layer laminate material. An outer layer of polyester is used for high-resolution graphics printing, a layer of aluminum foil for excellent barrier properties and a final, internal layer of polyethylene for direct food contact." And remember what Warren said about the word "recyclable".

Ruben Anderson put the process of recycling multi-layer packaging like Tetra-Paks into perspective in an earlier post:

The places that say they recycle Tetra Paks are liars. What does "re" mean? It means again. Can a Tetra Pak be made into another Tetra Pak? No. Tetra Paks are seven incomprehensibly thin layers of paper, plastic and aluminum. The poor suckers who try to recycle them use giant blenders to mush the paper pulp off the plastic and metal, then they need to separate the plastic from the metal. What idiot thought this would be a better idea than washing a bottle and refilling it?

And this stuff isn't even Tetra Pak, it is an outlier, a single product with no phony recycling system like Tetra Pak established to maintain some green cred, even though it probably takes more energy to get the aluminum out of it as it does to make the stuff in the first place. It will go straight to the dump.

But the real issue is that if the Liquor Control Board of Ontario really cared about Ontario instead of just making buckets of money, it would promote Ontario wines and develop a program of refillable bottles with the local vintners like we have at the Beer Store. It may take less energy to ship these from Australia than glass bottles, but it is still more than buying local. As Ruben puts it:

When did it become okay to destroy the climate and kill 50-90 per cent of living species so we could drink imported wine? How did it become possible for us to think we could have whatever we wanted wherever we wanted it? Do you really want to try to look your children in the eye and explain that they have to eat jellyfish gumbo because you couldn't resist that lovely imported shiraz?

Really, they control the market here, it is time they did something really green instead of this old wine in new high tech green bottle thing. As Ruben says: "Drink locally, so we don't get a global hangover."

More about wine in Ontario:
Which Is Greener, Wine Bottle or Box? Neither.
Hitting the Bottle or Hitting the Box? The Debate Continues
Greenwash Watch: More Greenwashing from the LCBO :
Drinking Outside the Box: Juice Boxes for Wine
Which Is Greener, Wine Bottle or Box? Depends on the Box

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