You have probably heard the popular waste management phrase, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.” The order of these words represents the hierarchy of what option is best, and that certainly applies when it comes to glass bottles. While a glass bottle is easy enough to recycle, reuse is better since recycling requires energy, water, and other resources and can even release pollutants.
When it comes to wine bottles, a New York-based startup Good Goods hopes to keep the containers out of landfill and recycling bin through its wine bottle return and reuse program. The company launched its program in New York City in 2020. Two years prior, it had launched a grab-and-go food brand in reusable containers, which gave them the framework to create the model they use now.
Today, Good Goods takes a multi-pronged approach to bottle reuse. First, they work with about 60 wine producers and brands across the U.S. and sign them up for the bottle reuse program. Then, standardized bottles (branded with Good Goods’s label along the bottom edge of the bottle) are provided to the wineries. These bottles are filled with wine, and then eventually shipped to participating retailers.
Customers then purchase bottles of wine at the participating retailers. When the wine is finished, empty wine bottles can then be returned to the same store from which it was initially purchased or to another participating retailer. Good Goods operates a customer loyalty program to incentivize the bottle return, and customers receive $1 off their next purchase.
Good Goods gathers the used bottles and brings them to its facilities, and then a third-party company sanitizes the bottles. The bottles are redistributed to wineries, and the process starts again.
According to the Good Goods, customers have returned 20,000 wine bottles to date. Over 50 retailers located in New York and New Jersey have joined the program, and the company currently has a waitlist of 100 retailers wanting to sign up. By the end of 2022, Good Goods’ goal is to expand to New York, California, Texas, and Washington and onboard 600 retailers.