Friday, July 16, 2010

Wine Corks Ideal For Recycling

A cork stopper of a wine bottle (made from com...Image via Wikipedia
While attending the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, I was impressed with the efforts to recycle the hundreds of corks popped during the three day event through the ReCORK program. There were corks aplenty as you might suspect with an event that started with 27 wineries pouring samples at 10:30 in the morning at registration.

Wineries are an agricultural business and are very environmentally conscious. After all, it is their livelihood. Wineries have launched programs to protect the salmon, birds, soil and the air. I see the effort to recycle corks as "all good" and part of the sustainability efforts of wine producers.

Why recycle wine corks? There are 13 billion (yes, billion!) natural cork wine closures sold into the world market each year. At present, the majority of them end up in landfills instead of in reuse applications. While natural cork will degrade over time, landfill capacities in most communities are at a critical state. Cork is ideal for recycling. It is biodegradable, renewable, energy efficient, sustainable, and 100% natural.

ReCORK is a natural wine cork recycling program. The ReCORK program is sponsored by Amorim of Portugal, the world's largest producer of natural cork wine closures, SOLE, a leading manufacturer of footwear products, and Amorim’s U.S. sales affiliates – Amorim Cork America and Portocork America. The goal is to recycle corks and to educate and inform consumers about
the crucial role cork forests play in curbing climate change.

There is no reason natural wine corks should end up as garbage when recycled cork can become flooring tiles, building insulation, automotive gaskets, craft materials, soil conditioner and sports equipment. Because of a worldwide interest in sustainable agriculture and natural products like cork, an alliance of concerned businesses, individuals, and ecological organizations has been formed to address the opportunities to recycle natural cork closures.

ReCORK has already collected more than 8.6 million used corks. SOLE has successfully developed a unique cork blend that enhances the material properties of their footwear products, and replaces some of the petroleum-based material with natural cork, a sustainable alternative.
For more information, check out At present I see no drop-off locations in the Toledo area, but hopefully that will change in the future.

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