Organic wine in eco-friendly tetra paks?

These words do not sit easily on my tongue, organic wine tetra paks, eco-friendly tetra paks. They are uneasy bedfellows, an oxymoron at the very least.

My lovely friend Sian and I were on an Alice day out. We were in Guildford for a performance of Alice in Court at the Guildhall and whilst in Guildford we looked at the Lewis Carroll exhibits in Guildford House and the Guildford Museum. All part of Curiouser and Curiouser, a programme of walks, talks and events to celebrate the life and legacy of Lewis Carroll who lived in Guildford.

We ended up at Jamie’s Italian. Well to be exact, we ended up drinking outside the Old Ford in North Camp. Let us say we dined that evening at Jamie’s Italian.

Whilst we were ordering, Sian drew my attention to an item on the menu that had caught her eye. Organic house wine in eco-friendly tetra paks which the waiter would be happy to decant at our table.

The mind boggles. To say the least we were baffled.

House wine is usually ordered in bulk and served in a carafe, or comes in bottles with no label. What self-respecting wine producer would put his wine, organic wine at that, in tetra paks? Wine in cartoons is the rubbish you take to parties when you do not wish to take a decent bottle, and this was tetra paks. Tetra paks are more or less impossible to recycle due to their composite laminar construction. Or were these special biodegradable tetra paks that we had not seen or heard of? But then the wine would be intended to be drunk very young, as the pak would disintegrate.

We were intrigued. We called over our waiter and said we wished to know more. He did not know, and went to speak to his manager. He did not know either. He brought over a tetra pak of organic wine. As far as we could see this was an ordinary tetra pak. There was nothing on the pak to indicate otherwise, though it did say it could be recycled.

A message was sent to Jamie Oliver, but we got no reply whilst we were eating and I have heard nothing from him since. Maybe he will write a comment!

A question I should have asked but didn’t was what does the restaurant do with the empty tetra paks, do they go in a general waste stream or are they recycled? I can guess what the answer would have been (and maybe I will pop back and ask) but it would have been interesting to hear what they had to say.

We then had fun devising a Monty Python comedy sketch.

Waiter turns up with a tetra pak in his hand. Is this to Sir’s liking? He then, with hand behind back, carefully decants the wine from a tetra pak.

It goes without saying that we declined the offer of organic house wine decanted from a tetra pak.

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9 Responses to “Organic wine in eco-friendly tetra paks?”

  1. keithpp Says:

    A local council was asked their view on recycling tetra paks. This was their responce:

    Tetra Paks can’t be recycled through our systems.

    You are correct that the construction of the cartons means that they require specialist re-processing. The only facilities that do this are in Scandanavia and we don’t feel that it is sustainable to transport materials that distance.

  2. keithpp Says:

    I was in Brighton and thought I would make inquiries of Jamie’s Italian just up from the seafront. It did not matter who I spoke to, they failed to comprehend the points I was making. It must be eco-friendly I was told, as on the pak it says it can be recycled. And what waste stream do you put it in, I asked? The general waste stream as it cannot go in the recycling waste stream as it cannot be recycled!

  3. keithpp Says:

    I was in Guildford for their excellent farmers market and had a chat to their recycling people who had a stall. They were appalled that a claim was being made that the tetra paks could be recycled and were eco-friendly. Yes, it is possible, but we have no facilities in Guildford, I was told.

  4. keithpp Says:

    I was in Guildford for their excellent farmers market and had a chat to two wine producers (one of who was organic) of excellent English wine. Not in tetra paks, I asked? They were horrified by the question, absolutely no way, they said. I explained why I was asking, they were incredulous that any wine producer of repute would wish to put their wine, especially organic wine, in tetra paks and found it unbelievable that was how Jamie Oliver was selling wine in his restaurants.

    The organic producer made the point that glass is recyclable! The other producer made the point who would wish to drink wine out of a tetra pak, and that wine in cartoons was the cheap rubbish you bought in supermarkets.

  5. keithpp Says:

    I have still sadly had no response from Jamie Oliver.

  6. Sam Says:

    Hello this is Sam. I work as part of the Environment team in Tetra Pak. You will be happy to hear that cartons are widely recyclable across the UK, with over 86% of Local Authorities collecting cartons for recycling.

    The carton recycling process is quite simple and can be seen here at

    In fact, there are a number of recycling points for cartons in Guilford, including the following sites: This information is easily accessible on the interactive map on the following website.
    1. Spectrum Leisure Centre, GU1 1UP
    2. Artington Park and Ride Site, Portsmouth Road, GU2
    3. Tesco, Park Barn, GU2 7XU
    4. Sainsburys, Burpham, GU4 7JU
    5. Coronation Gardens, Ash Hill Road, Ash, GU12 5DP

    Across the Brighton and Hove area, there is another service available. Magpie Recycling have an opt-in green box service which covers the whole district. To opt in, residents can call Magpie on 01273 685628
    or visit
    (Please note: the kerbside service is not run through Brighton and Hove Cityclean and is a separate service).
    You can also take your cartons to the below bring bank sites:
    1. Sainsburys, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QA
    2. Sainsburys, 361 – 367 Old Shoreham Road, Benfield Way, Hove, BN3 7GD.
    3. Asda, Brighton Marina Village, Brighton, BN2 5UT.

    We have offered the zero cost recycling solution to all local authorities not yet collecting. The fantastic result is that as more and more people are aware that cartons are recyclable and are asking for these services from their Local Authority, it has meant that kerbside collection of cartons has trebled in the past three years to just over 28% of the country.

    Recycling however is only one stage of a products life. When looking at the environmental performance of a package or product, you need to look at the impact it has across the whole of its life. It is with this approach that cartons perform so well. When it comes to the environment they have great story to tell.

    In fact, environmental studies across the world repeatedly show cartons to be a low carbon packaging choice. They are made mainly from a natural, renewable material – wood. This helps lower the carbon footprint of the package. They are very lightweight (only 39g for a litre carton of wine), transport efficient (in fact you can save up to 30 trucks off the road, delivering the same number of cartons versus your traditional wine), they protect the product perfectly, use the least amount of materials possible and as I have already mentioned– are recyclable.
    It if for these reasons, combined with businesses such as Jamie’s that take a life cycle approach rather than a simple end of life approach, that you will start to see more wine in cartons. For more information and if you have any queries, please visit

    Thanks a lot


    • keithpp Says:

      I would be horrified to see wine in tetra paks. I would no more wish to drink wine out of a tetra pak, than to drink wine out of a plastic wine glass.

      The point has been missed. Jamie Oliver is not recycling these tetra paks. They are going straight into the general waste stream, not into the recycling waste stream.

      Maybe it is something you should be raising with local councils at Guildford and Brighton and asking why Rushmoor will not accept tetra paks in their recycling waste stream?

  7. keithpp Says:

    Still no response from Jamie Oliver!

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