The most eco-friendly wine glasses depend on a number of factors. In this guide, we will help you to find the most sustainable wine glasses that fit your lifestyle. By following the “Sustainability Hierarchy” you can easily find the most sustainable option.
The Sustainability Hierarchy is a simple tool used to help you figure out the most sustainable options and actions possible.
As a sustainability professional, I understand it can be hard to know what the best options are, especially because product information doesn’t include sustainability information.
Sustainability is rarely a one-sized fits all approach and what is best for you may not be what is best for someone else. For example, heating water with an electric tea kettle is going to be the most sustainable option for some, but not all.
The good news is this guide will teach you everything to know about finding the most sustainable wine glasses and drinkware for your lifestyle. As possible, I’ll also include links to eco-friendly wine glasses so that you don’t have to do the work yourself.
The Most Eco-Friendly Wine Glasses and Drinkware
Here are the most sustainable options for eco-friendly wine glass and drinkware:
- Prevention and Used Items
- New Reusable Drinkware
- Composting and Recycling
- What Not To Do
Option 1: Prevention and Used Items
The best thing you can do to lower the impact of anything is to simply use what you already have. The includes drinking glasses and drinkware such as wine glasses, wine goblets, champagne flutes, and so on.
This could mean using old water glasses or even using a coffee mug.
It may not be the most “classy” option, but it’s easily the most sustainable. This is because you are preventing the need for all of the steps needed to create a new product.
You can also try to buy or find wine glasses that have already been used. This eliminates the impact of creating a new item or refinishing an old item. You can find these items in a reuse store, online, or from a family member who no longer needs them.
Used Recyclable Glass Wine Glasses
Used Recyclable Stainless Steel Wine Glasses
If you live in remote locations, or one where products are not widely available, reusing existing items could also be the best option for you.
If you live in countries with high and easy access to products, such as the United States or United Kingdom, it may be easier to purchase new products than if you live in a more remote location such as the Cook Islands or Solomon Islands.
If you have items that you would like to donate, such as wine glasses, check out this site.
Option 2: New Reusable Drinkware
If you must purchase a new wine glass, the top priority is to purchase something that is reusable.
Any reusable cup is going to have a lower environmental impact than a disposable one. Stainless steel often makes for eco-friendly products because it’s highly durable and recyclable. Glass is equally recyclable and has a lower carbon footprint, but glass recycling has become less available in recent years.
By choosing the right items, you can even recycle them when you are done with them, which contributes to a circular economy.
Here is a breakdown of the most eco-friendly materials:
- Stainless Steel
- Biodegradable and Compostable
Stainless steel wine glasses and drinkware are a great option under the right conditions. Stainless steel can either be made from recycled stainless steel or from new materials. As supply is available, stainless steel can be made from recycled content.
Since extraction is one of the biggest impacts of stainless steel, purchasing wine glasses with as much recycled content as possible lowers the impact from about 5 tons co2e produced per tonne to about 2.8 tons.
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, will last for decades, and safe for food items, which also makes it a great choice. In addition, there is very loss of stainless steel in the recycling process. The sheer number of uses, or “reuses” that you will get from stainless steel is very high.
Last, look to purchase items that were manufactured in countries with a cleaner grid as well to further reduce its impact.
Stainless steel is a nice option for stemless wine glasses, or tumblers, and have a nice visual appeal as well!
In summary, stainless steel wine glasses may not have the lowest carbon footprint, but they will likely outlast all other options and can be recycled when you’re done with it.
New Stainless Steel Wine Glasses
A benefit of these stainless steel wine tumbler glasses is they can double as an insulating cup for hot and cold beverages. This can cut down on the number of cups you need to store, while reducing energy to reheat your beverage.
Many small-business are using old wine bottles and wine glasses to simply make new ones. They are a popular option for sustainable glassware because, in addition to being reusable and long-lasting, they require little processing to be recreated. For example, here are some wine bottles that have been cut in half to make a eco friendly wine glass. Don’t worry about sharp edges though, they are polished to create a nice smooth edge.
Repurposed Wine Bottle Glasses
Glass may have a lower carbon footprint than stainless steel, however recycling glass doesn’t lead to an equal drop in raw materials needed. One ton of recycled glass can offset about 70% of the raw materials needed to make a new product. Stainless steel on the other hand does’t have this loss in material needs. With stainless steel, one ton can become one ton.
Still, glass will last a very long time, assuming it doesn’t break or get damaged.
Here too, its beneficial to find wine glasses and drinkware made from as much recycled content as possible and from countries with cleaner energy grids.
Glass is in part made from silica, a substance mined from the earth that can be found all over the world in countries from South Korea and New Zealand to South Africa and the US. The less silica needed, as a result of using recycled materials, the lower the carbon footprint of glass.
You will also want to find a product that was created as close to you as possible.
Here are some great options for sustainable, eco-friendly wine glasses.
Repurposed Wine Bottle Glasses
Option 3: Compostable and Biodegradable
While coconuts and other plant based materials sound like they make for sustainable materials, they are almost always single use items. Even though their impact is relatively low, they contribute to waste.
Further, most compostable materials and products will not break down in a regular backyard compost pile.
In order for these materials to properly break down, they need to be sent to a commercial compost facility of which very few exist. Plus, few people have access to such commercial facilities and few people compost their own waste at home.
Plant Based Compostable Cups
Biodegradable materials are often more energy intense to make than plastic and cannot break down properly in landfills. Overall, this greatly reduces the benefit of these materials.
If you have access to biodegradable wine glasses and are able to compost them properly, I would rank this a step better than disposable plastic. Otherwise, plastic may actually be a better option.
Bamboo and Paper Based Compostable Cups
Bamboo products are not always sustainable simply because they are made of bamboo. However, these bamboo cups are made without any plastic and are one of the few options that can actually be composted at home.
Option 4: Recyclable Options
Recyclable aluminum cups are a better single use option than plastic because they are recyclable everywhere. Even when recycled, it’s much more likely an aluminum cup will reach the recycle center than a plastic one. Just be sure to recycle all of them because aluminum has a higher carbon footprint than plastic if not recycled.
Plastic glasses don’t exactly make for eco-friendly glassware. Traditional plastics that are made for single use, have relatively low carbon emissions, but can only be recycled a few times before they start to lose their qualities.
After that point, they can be used to make products that are longer lasting, but harder to recycle.
Also, most plastic never gets recycled, even if you put it in your recycling bin, In addition, plastic takes thousands of years to break down. This means, all of the plastic ever created still exists and continues to negatively impact the planet.
My recommendation is to avoid plastic wine glasses as much as possible, especially because there are great reusable options made from other materials. If you must purchase plastic cups, make sure it’s recyclable.
On special occasions you may have little options since it could be hard to have so much drinkware for a lot of people.
Finding Sustainable Wine
If you are truly a wine lover and want to lower the impact of drinking wine, then I recommend purchasing from sustainable wineries. The impact of a wine glass, even eco-friendly wine glasses, are small compared to the impact of all the wine they will eventually hold. Here’s what’s involved in finding sustainable wine.
First, look for wines that are made locally. This includes finding local wines from local vineyards. However, if you purchase wine from a local vineyard that didn’t grow the grapes, the impact of that wine will be higher.
Second, look for wineries that practice sustainable growing techniques such as water efficiency and best fertilizer practices. Typically, when grapevines, or any plant for that matter are grown in a climate and location suitable for their growth, they will need fewer resources.
In addition to finding a local winery, look for wines made of grapes suitable to grow in or close to your area.
Want To Make Your Purchases More Sustainable?
If you use any of the amazon links above to purchase any of the products in this review, try making all of your purchases at once and getting them delivered all at once.
This goes for sustainable and non-sustainable products. By combining purchases and shipping, you cut down on computing power and fuel needed for shipping.
As possible, I keep this section up to date with special offers on any sustainable wine glasses, drinkware and wine. I may earn a small commission if you use any of the links to purchase products.
Any commission I get goes a very long way to help support this website and to make these reviews possible.
If you are considering purchasing any of the items above, I would greatly appreciate it if you used the links. Either way, thank you for reading and supporting my work!