AMERICAN CANYON – A number of large wineries, solid-waste recyclers and transportation companies have chipped in $3.5 million to create a company that allows some of millions of wine bottles in the U.S. each year that go to landfills instead to safely go back into use.
American Canyon-based Wine Bottle Renew, formerly Wine Bottle Recycling, in the past year has collected 300,000 discarded or used glass containers from major winery bottling lines and stockpiled them at its 92,000-square-foot newly retrofitted plant in Stockton. Wash-to-order and contract bottle washing are set to start at the beginning of August, according to Chief Executive Officer Bruce Stephens.
"It's being done everywhere else in the world except here," he said.
Beverage bottles have been sanitized for reuse for years in Europe. The Wine Bottle Renew team toured a dozen such plants there, including one in Italy that processes 10 million bottles a year.
Wine Bottle Renew's process for sterilizing bottles and selling them to wineries results in a 95 percent smaller carbon footprint and 25 percent less water usage than for production of new glass, according to Mr. Stephens.