Packamama

Revolutionising packaging for the wine industry

June 24th, 2024

Quick Facts:

  • Packamama supplies eco-flat wine bottles made from 100% Australian recycled PET . 

  • Launched in Australia in March 2022, the company operates globally with significant activities in Australia and the UK. 

  • Their bottles are 87 per cent lighter than traditional glass bottles, significantly reducing carbon emissions from transport. 

  • Packamama is currently available in nine countries, with an imminent launch to the US market. 

  • Winner of the 2024 Charles Sturt University Sustainable Packaging Innovation Challenge.  

Packamama is an innovative sustainable packaging company that aims to address one of the wine industry’s most significant emissions sources - its standard round, glass wine bottles.

WHO

Using recycled materials and a bespoke ‘flat’ bottle design to improve logistical efficiencies, Packamama are driving circular economy principles to minimise the wine sector’s environmental footprint. The organisation is inspired by Pachamama, the revered Incan earth goddess, and embodies a commitment to protecting the environment through their sustainable packaging.  

The company’s mission is to create a balance with the natural world by offering packaging that not only reduces carbon emissions but also respects and preserves the heritage and tradition of the wine industry . Their innovative approach has positioned them as a leader in the industry, driving positive environmental change.  

VISION 

Wine regions are some of the most vulnerable to climate change, as grape vines are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Yet the wine industry remains wedded to tradition when it comes to packaging, which studies show is it’s carbon footprint hotspot.  

The vision is to revolutionize the wine industry's packaging by shipping over a billion bottles annually, flattening high emissions from the alcohol industry to protect ‘Pachamama’. By 2030, the company aims to manufacture and ship hundreds of millions of units from major wine-producing countries and expand their sustainable packaging solutions to a broader range of beverages, fostering a low-carbon future in the drinks industry.

HOW

Packamama addresses the wine industry’s carbon footprint, primarily caused by traditional glass bottles that are heavy and therefore emission-intensive to transport, by offering low carbon footprint packaging solutions.

Challenging base assumptions that bottles need to be round and made of glass, Packamama bottles are 87 per cent lighter and 30 per cent spatially smaller than conventional 500g glass bottles, while still containing the same 75cl volume. The bottles are made from 100 per cent Australian recycled PET, a best-in-class material that is energy efficient, scalable, and limits the need to manufacture new virgin PET by putting the valuable resource back into good use. 

Being flat, Packamama bottles also improve logistic efficiency, allowing up to double the amount of bottles on a pallet which, coupled with being lightweight, reduces transport-related emissions. This is significant for a product like wine that travels vast distances across the world.

The company was founded by Santiago Navarro, who developed the novel bottle packaging through his wine company Garçon Wines in the UK in 2018. Despite pandemic delays, Packamama launched in Australia in 2022 innovating while respecting wine’s heritage and tradition remains important to Packamama founder Santiago, leading to the company’s decision to design a better bottle, not alternative packaging. 

Step-change innovation in one of the most traditional industries is difficult. The wine industry, rooted in tradition, has been slow to embrace new packaging options,” Santiago says. 

“However, history shows that change is possible. More than 90% of Australian and NZ wines are now closed with screw caps which are technically superior to cork. This shift demonstrates that while the wine industry may be slow to change, it is not resistant to it, offering hope for the adoption of new, sustainable packaging solutions like ours which are technically superior to glass.  

Additionally, PET offers a glass-like finish and sheen, and so presents a similar visual experience.  

“Using 100% recycled, or pre-existing, PET remains a challenge as it is more expensive and not as clear as the virgin material. However, it is the right type of PET to be using today to encourage the circular economy. 

Packamama bottles are not only made entirely from recycled PET, but they are also fully and easily recyclable after use. The bottles are also the first wine bottle to be part of certain states Container Deposit Schemes to ensure the valuable material stays in circulation. 

“Additionally, it is a slightly porous polymer with a moderate barrier to oxygen. Solving this was essential for oxygen-sensitive wine, and as such, we use an advanced barrier technology to enhance the shelf life. This barrier additive is also suitable for PET recycling,” he explains.   

RESULTS & BENEFITS

Packamama's eco-flat bottles significantly reduce the carbon footprint of wine packaging. Life cycle assessments indicate that their bottles slash emissions by around 53 per cent aligning with Australia’s Emissions Reduction Roadmap, which targets a 42 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

If major wineries like Taylors Wines and Accolade Wines, for example, fully adopted Packamama’s bottles, it is estimated they could save up to 250,000 km of road freight per year, highlighting the substantial environmental benefits. 

Call To Action

Packamama are waiting to hear about wine projects that can benefit from their game changing bottles across Australia and internationally. 

Visit their website to get in touch.

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