Bouchard Cooperages' Master Coopers USA eco-friendly barrel packaging
Master Coopers USA, a line of premium American oak barrels from Bouchard Cooperages has partnered with 1% For The Planet and has improved their barrel packaging to make it more eco-friendly and sustainable.
Paolo Bouchard, Business Development Manager at Bouchard Cooperages explains that it is the industry standard for single barrels to be wrapped individually with plastic wrap, cardboard, and plastic stickers or tape. If the barrel is not well sealed via plastic wrap, it risks losing it’s humidity which can lead to leaks. Also, if the bilge of the barrel is not well protected (typically with cardboard) it can suffer aesthetic and structural damage during transit. But one of the outcomes explains Paolo is that “all of this wrapping and protection of the barrel for the final customer means a lot of packaging that generates lots of waste”. So many winemakers tell me “What they dislike the most about barrel delivery season is the amount of waste that fills up the trash and recycling bins” explains Paolo Bouchard.
In order to use less cardboard and plastic for the packaging of the Master Coopers USA barrels, Bouchard Cooperages has decided to eliminate the use of plastic tape/stickers and replace it with paper stickers made from recycled paper by Eco-Enclose. Instead of cardboard, Green Cell Foam will be used to protect the bilge of the barrel. Manufacturing Green Cell Foam requires 70% less energy and produces 80% less greenhouse gases than petroleum-based foams. It is also a backyard and industrial facility compostable, and water-soluble (ASTM D6400 and BPI certified). The primary raw material is U.S.-grown, non-GMO cornstarch, an annually renewable resource.
After removing the green cell foam from the bilge of the barrel, the green cell foam can be composted, put in a winery’s green waste bin, put in between vineyard rows, in the garden or disposed of via dissolving in water. Worst case, the product can be thrown away and will normally break down in approximately 30 days in a landfill. Master Coopers USA barrels will still be wrapped in plastic that is recyclable.
This is a first small step in making more environmentally friendly packaging for Master Coopers USA barrels and “we are moving in the right direction by doing” this explains Paolo Bouchard. “Every gesture counts which will help trigger more conversation and lead to more actions to reduce waste, dependence on plastic and ultimately help reduce the wine industry’s carbon footprint”.
Additionally, for Master Coopers USA, Bouchard Cooperages has decided to partner with 1% For The Planet which is a non-profit started by the founders of Patagonia. 1% of Master Coopers USA revenue will go to 1% For the Planet where Bouchard Cooperages can choose to allocate contribution to groups that include Saving the Redwoods, Plant For the Planet etc…. “At the bare minimum, you should be giving at least 1% back to the forests when they generate premium oak trees for coopers to make barrels out of” stresses Paolo Bouchard.