As the food waste epidemic has become an urgent public issue, producers in the food and beverage industries have sought innovative ways to reduce their landfill footprint. Now, one of the largest family-owned wine producers in Australia has made plans to become the world's very first waste-free winery.
De Bortoli Wines, a producer with four winery sites across the country, has cut down significantly on landfill deposits to 48 tons a year, down from 300 tons a year in 2004. Labeled their "carbon economy project," the company's eco-friendly plan has involved redesigning every element of their business, from composting systems for grape skins, to greener filtration pumps, to better refrigeration and packaging. According to The Guardian, De Bortoli and its third-generation managing director Darren De Bortoli have invested over $15 million dollars towards their goal of becoming waste-free.
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Because the winery is spread out to four sites in diverse regional climates, the company's research and efforts to make their process as energy-efficient as possible has had to be uniquely configured four times over. De Bortoli first started focusing on the environmental impact of their production when they underwent an inspection by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). "We had to prepare and submit an environmental assessment to the EPA as part of the expansion plan—that lead to discussions about how we could improve production systems, do things differently," he says.