ReCORK's cork recycling process: the lifecycle of an incredible, sustainable material.
Your first contact with cork comes with a satisfying pop as you pull it from the neck of your favourite bottle. As far as most are concerned, that's about all it's worth. But the humble wine-stopper's story starts long before then, and with your help, will carry on for long after. Here's how the whole ReCORK recycling process works, and how easy choices and small steps made by us can have a big positive impact on our environment. Let's start at the very beginning.
With more than 30 billion bottles worth of wine consumed worldwide every year, the single corks add up quickly.
Cork starts its journey as the bark of an incredible tree: the cork oak. These trees are fantastic carbon sinks, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and trapping it in the bark that's used to make wine-stoppers. No trees are cut down in the harvesting process, and it actually prolongs the life of the tree. Read here to learn more about cork oaks, and why cork is such a sustainable material.
The harvested bark is used to make cork wine-stoppers which are shoved head-first into their noble role protecting your wine. Wineries that use natural cork instead of synthetic are supporting the environment by helping to preserve 6.7 million acres of ecologically sensitive cork forests and the abundant biodiversity the forests support. Our CORKwatch database can help you consume consciously by buying wines that use natural cork stoppers.
You pull the cork from a bottle with that satisfying pop we mentioned earlier. It's been in there for months, years maybe, doing its duty safeguarding that delicious liquid, just for you. You could cast it aside, relegating it to the world of garbage and landfills, but you decide pay it the respect that it deserves and recycle it. It may be just one cork, but with more than 30 billion bottles worth of wine consumed worldwide every year, the single corks add up quickly.
You add your corks to one of our ReCORK cork recycling bins at our recognized recycling locations. With the help of our network of thousands of collections partners across North America, we've collected more than 100 million wine corks for recycling, and we're just getting started.
We grind down all the corks so we can turn them into a raw material that's perfect for replacing environmentally harmful petroleum-based foams and plastics in consumer products. Read more about our recent breakthroughs in recycled cork formulation.
We make the most of cork's naturally durable, lightweight, moisture wicking and rot-resistant qualities by turning it into a variety of eco-friendly products. SOLE's recycled cork products all include ReCORK materials and components, but we want to make the biggest impact for the sake of the environment that we can. That's why we're in the process of partnering and collaborating with other major brands to spread the positive eco-impact of what ReCORK does as far as possible.