American Airlines, ReCORK Partner to Recycle Wine Corks

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There has been significant progress over the last few decades to encourage more recycling around the U.S., and countless partnerships and opportunities still remain when it comes to recycling some not-so-obvious items.

Take the new partnership with American Airlines, ReCORK America and Sodexo, a food and facilities management service, for example.

American Airlines decided to donate all of the corks produced from its Admiral Club Lounges to ReCORK America, which aims to obtain used and surplus corks from winery tasting rooms, bottling lines, quality assurance laboratories and now, American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges.

Although a small wine cork may seem insignificant in the big picture of waste disposal, reusing these small stoppers prevents the need to further harvest virgin materials and utilizes a readily available resource. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Although a small wine cork may seem insignificant in the big picture of waste disposal, reusing these small stoppers prevents the need to further harvest virgin materials and utilizes a readily available resource. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Cork is a common material used for wine bottle closures and is grown mainly in the western Mediterranean region of the world.

If cork forests are to be managed sustainably, cork oak trees must be at least 25-years-old before their first harvest and require a further nine years before they can be harvested again, according to Planet Ark Environmental Foundation.

Recycling cork from wine bottles can help lessen the pressure to harvest too quickly, because existing cork—in the form of wine closures or stoppers, for example—reduces the need to use virgin resources to fashion other cork-made goods.

Some items readily made from recycled cork include:

  • Floor tiles
  • Automotive gaskets
  • Building insulation
  • Dart boards
  • Sports equipment
  • Craft materials

ReCORK also partnered with Whole Foods in 2008 in a similar program. Efforts such as these are helping to advance the recycling of an extremely useful and environmentally friendly material that all too often goes to landfills.

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