Alice Rule: Sustainability at heart

18 Oct 2019

Alice Rule is a force to be reckoned with. An emerging young leader in sustainability, she is seeking to drive the circular economy of glass in the New Zealand wine industry.

Alice Rule

Founder and winemaker of 3sixty2 wines, Alice is conducting research funded in equal parts by the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) and AGMARDT through its Capability Development Grant.

Alice started the research as part of the Kellogs Rural Leadership Programme. Through her work, she hopes to drive awareness about using glass made in New Zealand in the wine industry.

“I actually applied for the Kellogg Rural Leadership program for the January intake and they pushed me forward into the June cohort, so it didn’t clash with vintage.

The following week I was at a 3R Group [the scheme manager for the Glass Packaging Forum] sustainability forum and I asked whether they needed any research done. We had a meeting and they ultimately gave me my topic.”

All recycled glass in New Zealand goes to the country’s only glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I NZ in Auckland.

“I want to improve people’s understanding of the repercussions of wineries buying glass offshore and not recycling. And, make them want to be part of the recycling process,” she says.

 

Glass is the country’s best example of the circular economy in action, Alice says.

“It's infinitely recyclable without losing quality and also reduces the need for virgin materials as well as reducing emissions from the furnace.”

Alice, who produces her wine in Marlborough, has a passion for the circular economy. “I love glass and sustainability. It’s a real mission juggling running my business, freelancing to finance the business and doing this research: but I’m pretty lucky it’s something I care about.”

Her wine brand, 3sixty2 has a number of different sustainability initiatives on the go.

“Beyond SWNZ, we use plastic-free packaging, NZ made FSA recycled boxes and inserts, low weight glass bottles, use no plastic tape (I found a really cool paper-based alternative), and plant 362 trees each vintage: it’s a 'tree for bees' initiative I made up.”

She has lots of ideas up her sleeves and isn’t afraid to try initiatives, “I’m only just starting and learning.”

Her ambition isn’t just confined to her own projects. She would like to see the New Zealand wine industry “sustainability promises aligned with international standards. I’m also in full support of an amendment change to The Paris Agreement so vines, soil and cover crops are included for carbon sequestration.”

“I’d like to see more research proving our carbon neutrality, from grape to glass. And I’d like to see investment into a circular strategy.”

Part of Alice’s research will involve conducting a survey among the New Zealand wine industry. “I would really love wineries to engage with me because this research concerns them all. The more information I can get, the better understanding I can get, which will only be of benefit to everyone,” she says.

Alice has begun her research and is appealing to the industry to take part in her survey. You can be involved by contacting her here.


Quickfire questions 

 

Who has been your greatest mentor?

Rod Drury

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

You’re only as good as the people you’ve got around you, so make sure you spend most your time with good buggers.

What is your favourite thing about the wine industry?

That at the end of a really long tough day, there will always be something delicious we’ve made to sip on. That makes all our hard efforts worthwhile. 

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