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Cornell students explore sustainable solutions for wine bottle reuse

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  • Staff Report 

The challenge of sustainably reusing wine bottles has long perplexed the New York State wine industry.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

However, students from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business may be on the brink of a solution.

By exploring the establishment of a wine bottle washing and reuse facility startup, these bright minds aim to tackle this sustainability problem head-on.

The students’ research involved in-depth interviews with redemption centers, winery owners, restaurants, and wine consumers, all while utilizing a “design thinking” approach.


They aim to pitch their innovative ideas to Saltonstall and other winery stakeholders, aligning their efforts with Cornell’s Grand Challenges curriculum and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

While the global environmental impact of glass bottles is significant, New York State currently lacks a redemption program specifically for wine bottles, leaving recycling decisions up to individuals.

Proposed legislation, Senate Bill S4246A, is looking to address this by mandating businesses to register with a packaging reduction organization.