Wine merchant’s brilliant sustainability initiative helping local wineries save money

When Dan Murphy’s Mornington East Wine Merchant Michael Zitzlaff saw how many wine box dividers were going into paper recycling every month, he thought there must be a better way to reuse them.

“I used to be a winemaker for 30 years, so I knew that box dividers are an additional packaging cost for wineries,” he said.

Many local, boutique Mornington Peninsula winemakers deliver their wines directly to Dan Murphy’s stores, so Michael started putting the box dividers aside for the next time a local winemaker would visit the store.

“Our local winemakers like Kathleen Quealy from Quealy Wines were delighted about the initiative and were more than happy to reuse the box dividers. Not only does this help them save money, but it’s great for the environment,” Wine Merchant Michael Zitzlaff said.

Michael’s initiative has now been rolled out to about 10 Dan Murphy’s stores in Victoria, including Malvern East, Doncaster and Cheltenham stores.

Together, the stores have collected 12,800 carton dividers, which are now on their way to be reused by local wineries to bottle the 2020 vintage – which is a saving of over $10,000 for the wineries!

Story Wines – a small producer of top Grampians and Henty Wines – is one of the wineries that has been using recycled box dividers.

“We managed to get chatting with Steven Fisher, the Wine Merchant at Dan Murphy’s Malvern East store who mentioned that he had a mountain of generic wine dividers. They are usually in perfect condition to restack and reuse so I drove up and filled the back of the station-wagon with them so we can reuse them in our 2020 wines,” Story Wines winemaker Rory Lane said.

“Each of these dividers would cost us 88c for each dozen bottles we produce, so we are saving money and saving a few trees at the same time, and building connections with our partners in Dan Murphy’s stores. We are really grateful for this opportunity,” he added.

Dan Murphy’s are now looking to build a process for the recycling scheme so they can roll out the initiative to more stores.

“It’s the little ideas that can have a huge impact when implemented across all of our 246 stores. Our team is really passionate about sustainability and we are always looking for innovative ways of reducing our footprint on the planet,” said Dan Murphy’s Managing Director Alex Freudmann.

“Approximately 15 percent of our stores across the country are now switched to solar power, with more stores being fitted out with solar panels,” he added.

The retailer is also developing a can holder recycle program with local breweries and looking at ways to ensure all stores are recycling to their best potential.

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