Show up to a party with wine in a cardboard box and your host might toss you some serious side eye. Show up with a bottle of chardonnay made out of paper packaging and you might be the talk of the gathering. That’s right, folks, although powdered alcohol looks like a bust, the world’s first paper wine bottle is completely legit.
The fittingly named Paper Boy brand of wines features bottles that are, according to the company website, “created from pre- and post-consumer waste and recycled/organic materials.” The bottles are also 80 percent lighter than glass. That means they’re ultra-portable, and you don’t have to worry about them shattering in your picnic basket or backpack.
The state-of-the-art bottle features a retro cartoon of a paperboy printed across a molded, compressed cardboard exterior. How come the wine doesn’t soak through? The secret sauce of the design is an interior plastic lining that does double duty—it also helps the wine stay cool longer. Once you’ve drained Paper Boy's 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend or 2012 Mendocino Chardonnay to the last drop, the 100 percent recyclable components pop apart and can be tossed into the appropriate bins.
Phil Hurst, the CEO of Paper Boy producer Truett Hurst, told FastCoDesign that glass is only recycled 28 percent of the time. Meanwhile, paper is recycled 91 percent of the time. Hurst also estimates that Paper Boy’s carbon footprint is 67 percent that of glass bottles. If all 207.7 million cases of wine that were shipped last year in the U.S. came in Paper Boy bottles, that would save about "50,793,750 gallons of diesel and 560,000 tons of CO2,” Hurst says.
Whether cardboard bottles will catch on and spread to other brands remains to be seen. In the meantime, Paper Boy is available in 44 states.