Green choices for wine shopping

Concerns over the state of our planet have made many of us think about how we can be greener in our consumption choices. For instance, there has been much discussion about the impact of food choices on the environment. In addition to making sustainable choices for a dinner party, you can also be environmentally friendly in your wine picks. The next time you go shopping for festive beverages, take this three-point checklist with you.

1) Look for Green Choice symbols on the shelves

Did you know that Alko stocked its first organic certified wine way back in 1994? These days, Alko’s product assortment is marked with a range of different Green Choice symbols: organic, biodynamic, vegan, natural wine, local certificate of sustainable development, and lightweight glass bottle. Whichever you choose, you can trust that the wine producer takes environmental issues into consideration and complies with the principles of sustainable development.

An environmental symbol or certificate does not automatically mean that the product has a smaller carbon footprint. However, it has positive impacts on aspects such as the diversity of the environment around the vineyard. Your choice of wine package has a major impact on the carbon footprint. For more about this, see the next item on the checklist.

You can read more about Green Choice symbols here.

2) Choice of packaging has an impact

There has recently been much discussion about seas filled with plastic waste. Although there are good reasons to find alternatives to single-use plastic, a plastic wine bottle can be environmentally friendly. Especially if you remember to recycle!

A traditional glass bottle is the worst choice for the sake of the environment. A PET plastic bottle, for instance, is a more climate friendly choice. It has a smaller carbon footprint, particularly thanks to the lightness of plastic compared to glass. Light weight is an advantage during transport and also reduces the resulting emissions. Unlike in the case of food products in general, a wine package places a greater burden on the environment than the beverage itself.

Alko’s range also includes wines in lightweight glass bottles. As in the case of plastic bottles, a lighter glass bottle has a smaller carbon footprint than a traditional, heavier glass bottle. A lightweight glass bottle is indicated by its own Green Choice symbol.

Studies show that bag-in-boxes, cardboard cartons and wine bags have the smallest climate impacts per litre. For a big group of people, a large single-use package is a more environmentally friendly choice than several different bottles. If one bottle is enough for the party guests, then a PET plastic bottle is a good alternative. Whichever package you choose, be sure to remember to recycle! For more on recycling, see the next item on the checklist.

Read more about the climate impacts of packaging materials.

3) Recycle the material

In 2018, the recycling rate of deposit glass bottles was 88% and that of plastic bottles 90% (source: There’s still room for improvement, but we’re doing well in recycling deposit bottles! Thanks to recycling, we save natural resources – Palpa reports that the recycled material from return bottles is used to produce new bottles and as a raw material for products in other fields of industry.

Did you know that you can also return wine bags and the inner bags of bags-in-boxes to selected Alko stores? The bags are turned into recycled fuel, which is used in cement manufacturing processes. If you cannot return wine bags to your closest Alko, you can recycle them by sorting them with the right waste fractions.

You can find more information on the recycling of wine bags in stores and detailed instructions for wine bag sorting here.

P.S. What other environmental issues do you take into consideration at your parties? Share your tips on social media using hashtag #nofilter.

Maiju Sirviö

The author is Alko's Sustainability Specialist.