How to recycle wine bottles

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Upcycled wine bottles and bottles of sparkling wine can help the environment and save valuable resources, according to researchers. 

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that wine bottles are among the most environmentally friendly materials. 

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) found that a variety of recycled bottles, bottles of beer and bottles for cooking can be used for producing energy by converting carbon dioxide into electricity. 

The team studied the energy and waste of a wine bottle, which produces carbon dioxide when it is crushed and is used for heating, and a glass of beer, which is used to heat beer and the water used to boil it. 

It found that the bottles that produce the most electricity are those that are recycled and reused, the university said. 

“Our study is the first to quantify the amount of energy and water used when using a wine or beer bottle as a heat source,” said study author David Meeks, a graduate student at the university’s Center for Energy, Energy Systems, and Environmental Engineering.

“The results are not surprising. 

We were able to demonstrate that the energy used when making these materials is significantly less than that used when heating beer and wine.” 

The researchers also found that recycling and recycling programs are increasingly being adopted around the world. 

For example, in the United States, a new state law that will take effect next year will require beverage manufacturers to recycle and reuse the bottles they make. 

There is also a new law in Australia that requires the bottles used for making alcohol to be recycled and reuse, as well as a law in India that requires that wine, spirits and beer be recycled at least once a year. 

Dr Meeks and his colleagues examined how much energy and carbon dioxide was created when a variety a number of different types of wine, including sparkling wines, beer, wine glasses and beer kegs, were crushed and then heated to produce the energy that can be burned to generate electricity. 

 “These energy and resources can be put to use for other things in the environment,” Dr Meeks said.

“We also found a potential energy savings of up to 1.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year per unit of energy produced.” 

Dr David Moresse is a graduate researcher at the Center for Environment and Energy Systems and Environmental Eng, at the Institute of Sustainable Technology, University of New South Wales, Canberra. 

Find more news from the University and beyond at news.uva.edu

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