The new Frugal Bottle—made from 94 percent recycled paperboard—has just debuted in the U.K.

By Mike Pomranz
July 01, 2020
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When I was younger, wine came in a glass bottle, and—outside of a few value-priced boxed options—that was that. But now, quality wine comes in all sorts of packaging: boxes, cans, pouches, even slim plastic bottles that can fit through a mail slot. Of course, the bottle is still king—but even that classic container isn’t beyond innovation. The British company Frugalpac has just launched a standard-sized wine bottle made mostly out of recycled paper.

The Frugal Bottle is a 750 milliliter bottle “made from 94 percent recycled paperboard with a food-grade liner to hold the wine or spirit,” according to Frugalpac. Not only is it “comparable in cost to a labelled glass bottle,” but it can also “be refrigerated and keeps the liquid cooler for longer.”

Credit: Frugalpac

Naturally, the company offers an environmental pitch, as well. “Our mission is to design, develop and supply sustainable packaging. The Frugal Bottle is up to five times lighter than a glass bottle, has a carbon footprint up to six times lower and is easy to recycle again,” explained Frugalpac chief executive Malcolm Waugh. “We’ve had fantastic feedback from people who’ve trialed the Frugal Bottle. As well as the superior environmental benefits, it looks and feels like no other bottle you have ever seen.”

Digging into the specifics, a Frugal Bottle weighs about 3 ounces, whereas glass bottles can weigh about a pound. Additionally, Frugalpac says that beyond offering a carbon footprint that is 84 percent lower than a glass bottle, it’s also “more than a third less than a bottle made from 100 paper recycled plastic,” with a “water footprint is also at least four times lower than glass.” And, yes, the paper bottle is easy to recycle—because the liner inside is removable: “Simply separate the plastic food-grade liner from the paper bottle and put them in your respective recycling bins.”

The new Frugal Bottle has debuted with Italy’s Cantina Goccia who is using it for their 2017 3Q wine—a Sangiovese retailing in the UK for about $16. On top of its other benefits, this first bottle shows off another intriguing trait: The artwork can easily cover the entire surface.

“When some of our top hotel customers saw samples of our paper wine bottle, there was no hesitation in their minds that this type of bottle would be well received in their dining rooms,” said Cantina Goccia owner Ceri Parke. “It’s much lighter than glass, easier to transport and friendlier to the planet."

As of right now, Frugal Bottle doesn’t appear slated to arrive in the United States in the near future, but that could easily change. Frugalpac is currently taking orders for the machines used to produce the bottles, with delivery planned for next year—and though right now interest is primarily in the U.K. and Europe, nothing seems to preclude American companies from getting on board.

“Frugalpac’s business model is to supply Frugal Bottle machines for wine producers or packaging companies to manufacture the bottles on their site, cutting carbon emissions even further,” Waugh added. “Materials can be purchased locally through existing paperboard printers to give maximum freedom of design and the best commercial offering.”