This year’s Decanter World Wine Awards will be greener than ever, with more than 8,000 bottles being recycled.

With the fourth annual Decanter Wine Awards now underway, Decanter is working with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Environment Services Department to ensure that all empty bottles and cardboard boxes discarded during the event are recycled.

‘This is the first time we’ve undertaken a one-off recycling project on such a large scale,’ said Councillor Nicholas Botterill, who covers environmental issues for Hammersmith & Fulham, which has provided eight 1,280 litre bins to be collected each day throughout the course of the five-day event.

‘Many businesses within the borough recycle regularly, but we haven’t been called upon to recycle such a large quantity of glass and cardboard for a single event. We’re very impressed and hope other organisations follow suit.’

Prior to the competition, all envelopes containing the paperwork for competition entries were recycled, while cancelled foreign stamps given to a charity to sell collectors . When the competition is over, all unopened bottles will be similarly auctioned off for charity.

‘We consider it critical that eveything that possibly can be recycled, is recycled,’ said Decanter publisher Clare Malec. ‘Each year, we strive to do more at every stage of the event.’

Crushed bottles are eventually turned into sand substitute – some of which is repurchased by the Council and used for paving. Cardboard and paper reappear as the same materials, in a different format.

Karl Franz of Sensible Wine Services, which provides logistical support for the Awards, said that corks get recycled as well.

‘All corks get sent to a lady in Gloucestershire who makes them into cork boards, tables and other items,’ he said.

‘The only problematic packaging material is polystyrene,’ he added. ‘It’s great for protecting glass, but terrible for the environment. There’s absolutely nothing you can do with it.’

Written by Maggie Rosen