The dreaded styrofoam wine shippers

September 6, 2013 – 11:33

More than a decade ago, I began sending out this request with my basic wine shipping address and contact information. Please – No styrofoam!!! I pleaded. Use cardboard shippers. Do not use any form of popcorn, even the stuff that is biodegradable.

At the time, believe it or not, this was revolutionary. I had only seen a couple of examples of recycled cardboard shippers. But I was already FED UP with the styrofoam stuff. A few boxes (about a day’s worth of samples) would fill up the trunk of my car. I’d collect them and drive them to wine shops that would re-use them for shipping wine to someone else, who’d then be stuck with them. Kind of like the Christmas fruitcake that gets passed from house to house every year.

It soon became apparent that I couldn’t keep up. The amount of time I spend opening boxes, sorting wines, moving wines, organizing wines in tasting flights, opening wines, dumping wines, cleaning bottles, recycling bottles, breaking down cardboard boxes, recycling cardboard boxes is beyond belief. And none of that is time paid for, or gas paid for, or mileage paid for. The actual work – tasting wines, making notes, polishing notes, entering notes in the various articles and databases – that is even more time consuming.

So it struck me that perhaps I could shave a little time off the clock, and do something good for the environment, by requesting that no one ship me wines in styrofoam.

Slowly but surely, it has worked. At first a trickle, then a stream, and now a flood – after years and years of effort the vast majority of wines are shipped in recycled cardboard.

BUT – there are still those wineries that insist on styro. Because – they insist – it’s safer. It offers better protection. And up until now I had no retort. I could only point to my own practical experience. After hundreds upon hundreds of boxes of wine shipped in cardboard, I have never – not once – received damaged wine. Not a single bottle baked, not a single cork popped, not a single bottle broken.


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FYI wine & liquor boxes

You cannot ship in wine or liquor boxes from here to Canada. Not sure about over state lines.
I didn't know this, packed up a bunch of stuff to send to family, got to the PO and they refused my boxes. Had to buy their shipping boxes and re-pack there before I could send.
Has to do with tariffs or some such. Who knows.
Scavengers, beware!

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