T H E LA ST WORD
Cheers! The natural cork that tops your wine bottle is recyclable, too BY SARA SCHWARTZ
he next time you celebrate with your favorite bottle of wine, don’t throw away the cork — that already-incredible environmentally sustainable resource can be recycled. Cork trees, which grow primarily in Spain and Portugal, provide material for multiple products, most notably wine stoppers. Natural cork is harvested once every nine years from mature trees by cutting off layers of the cork oak bark by hand. This process doesn’t harm the tree and also allows the cork bark to regrow, causing no environmental damage and increasing the tree’s life span. Multiple companies are bridging the gap between using this renewable resource and diverting it from the landfill. One of them is ReCORK, which bills itself as “North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program.” The company works with more than 3,000 collection partners around the U.S. and Canada, and reports that it has collected more than 78 million natural wine corks. The company, owned by Canadian footwear company SOLE, makes the 198* Block, a yoga block manufactured from 198 recycled corks. SOLE (yoursole.com) also uses ReCORK’s cork in footbed inserts and footwear. So give your natural cork a second life by making sure it gets recycled.
RECYCLE YOUR NATURAL CORKS Here are a few companies that accept natural cork for recycling:
GREEN LIVING | SPRING/SUMMER 2017
Cork ReHarvest works with the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance to accept natural cork at many locations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. www.corkforest.org/find-a-dropbox
CORKCLUB accepts boxes of cork from the mainland U.S. and pays for the shipping. The company also donates up to 2 cents to Forest and Ocean Conservation for each natural wine cork received. Also accepted: synthetic corks. corkclub.com
ReCORK, currently available in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 3,000 public cork drop-off locations.