Drinking Outside the Box: Juice Boxes for Wine

We are not quite sure about juice boxes for wine. It is very popular in Italy, and Three Thieves Bandit wine from California is purported to be better for the environment than bottled wine. Certainly it costs less to transport- "the wine industry is stuck in the dark ages" says one of the winery's founders. "Most wine is sold in packaging that weighs more than the product inside and needs a special tool to open" Although we are not certain that the tetra packaging is more recyclable than glass, he has a point. We also like the fact that up here, 50 cents for every package sold is donated to Ontario 's Kortwright Center to help finance a new frog habitat. ::Three Thieves via ::The Star

We note that Toronto environmentalist Gord Perks points out in a letter to the Star after the article was published: TetraPaks are not green compared to effective recycling- letter below the fold. Once again looking green trumps being green. Thursday's Star extols the virtue of buying Three Thieves' wine in Tetra Paks. A portion of the purchase price goes to helping the bandit frog, and the container is purportedly green in its own right. Wrong.

Saving frogs is a good thing, which is why we need better endangered species legislation. But saving frogs can't disguise the LCBO's anti-green container strategy. Last year the provincial recycling rate for Tetra Paks was less than 13 per cent. In 2004 only 30 per cent of LCBO glass bottles were recycled back into bottles or fibreglass.

Contrast this with the more than 95 per cent rate for beer bottles. The difference? Deposit return. The rough handling and mixed materials in the blue box cause different coloured bottles to break and mix. This consigns them to wasteful uses such as roadbed or landfill cover. Instead of addressing the problem head on, our government-owned retailer tries to shift attention away with an endangered frog tie-in.

Tetra Paks do even worse than the abysmal recycling record of glass. Most municipalities eschew collecting this package because its three layers (plastic, paper, aluminum) make it extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive to recycle.