The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Kāpiti Coast distillery’s bottle-swapping scheme takes off

A bottle swapping scheme by Kāpiti Coast distillery The Bond Store is expanding as Wellington’s bars and hospitality providers sign up to embrace waste reduction and ramp up sustainability.

The scheme sees bars, cafes and restaurants able to return used gin and vodka bottles to the distillery, so they can be cleaned, refilled and returned up to seven times before they are eventually sent for recycling.

The scheme was increased through a Waste Minimisation Grant from the Kāpiti Coast District Council and has saved thousands of bottles as well as reducing costs for their participating customers.

While it is more work and doesn’t save money for the distillery, it’s the right thing to do, the business says.

Kuikui Lane is a new addition to Wellington’s bar scene and is fast becoming a favourite for the city’s cocktail lovers.

It is the latest in a raft of businesses to sign up to the scheme and take increased action over its own environmental footprint.

Now, at least 10% of the bar’s glass waste is diverted from the recycling plant and reused at The Bond Store, coming back freshly refilled.

Kuikui Lane bar manager Jessica Pointer says a big part of the business’s ethos is sustainability and working with likeminded people, and the bottle swapping scheme allows for both.

“We hope more distilleries follow suit. We simply rinse our empty bottles, keep them in boxes and return them every four to six weeks, before they come back restocked. We’ve saved around 100 bottles saved so far.”

Pointer says it was a “no brainer” to include the Bond Store as an integral part of the bar’s menu, as they matched so well with the philosophy of supporting local and sustainability-focused producers.

“High quality products with a real community and zero waste vibe is why we will continue to support them,” she says.

Pointer says that with the help of schemes like The Bond Store’s bottle swapping, there is the opportunity for real change.

“We are on a mission to continue to do better, trying to work with our suppliers to limit unnecessary waste. If we all do our part, we can create real change in the hospitality sector and our impact on the environment.”

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