Turning water into wine may require a miracle, but turning wine corks into eco-friendly consumer products is well within our grasp, thanks to ReCORK.
While many of us enjoy an organic glass of buttery chardonnay, a light summer rosé or a bold merlot, it’s mind-blowing to grasp the idea that 30 billion bottles of wine are consumed each year around the globe. We’re either serious grape aficionados or an overly stressed, wine-obsessed culture. Whatever the reason may be, all of that whiffing and sniffing is taking a toll on our planet. Sure, the glass bottles can be recycled (and you best be doing this), but where does all that cork — the bark from a cork oak tree — end up?
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Beyond the Bottle Stopper
ReCORK is North America’s largest natural cork recycling program, consisting of 3,000 cork collection partners. Ironically, they were adopted by a Canadian footwear brand with heart and soul called Sole. In addition to using hydroelectric power, Sole also implements carbon offsets and replants cork oak trees; to date, more than 8,000 cork oak trees have been planted.
Plus, they’re turning corks into practical and sustainable products at affordable prices. In fact, ReCORK recently collected its 75 millionth wine cork for upcycling purposes — gulp! That’s a lot of corks and a lot of wine, but only a little bit of effort on your part. There are easy drop-off recycling stations located across the US., you can click HERE to find a ReCORK recycling station near you or locate a retail site that sells recycled cork products.
Those corks turn into a variety of products, from 100 percent recycled cork yoga blocks and surf traction pads to flooring and footbeds. Starting at a mere $20, these make great stocking stuffers.
Healthy Harvesting & Cleaner Air
No one likes to see the devastation of forests, but you’ll be thrilled to know the harvesting process used by ReCORK is actually good for the trees and increases their lifespan to over 200 years. Fellow treehuggers, delight — these trees are never cut down. Rather, every nine years, the bark is harvested by hand. This simultaneously helps the tree grow larger — kind of like getting your hair cut.
These cork trees act as little carbon dioxide sponges; they literally absorb CO2 from the air and seal it in safely. Watch now:
Carbon Negative Is a Thing
ReCORK also uses closed loop manufacturing to create positive environmental change. The recycling process is carbon negative and uses zero chemicals. Don’t worry, while a negative bank account or negative wine isn’t a good thing, a negative carbon footprint is!
Heck, even their packaging is make with 100 percent recyclable materials (of course!).
Collect, Grind, Ship & Manufacture
ReCORK’s process from start to finish is transparent, and they pride themselves on the alchemical process of recycling something old into something new, free of harmful materials such as plastics or foams. CEO Mike Baker believes companies have a social responsibility by choosing products with the least toll on our environment. In fact, anyone can become a ReCORK Re-Use partner by purchasing their recycled cork for use in product creation. You’ll be in good company with other businesses like Las Vegas hotels Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.
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Support the Corks!
So now you now it’s better to shop and support wines with natural corks. According to ReCORK, this small effort supports the conservation of an astonishing 6.7 million acres of ecologically sensitive cork forests — your conscious purchases are actually making a difference, one cork at a time. How do you make sure you’re getting wine with the right corks? ReCORK has made it super easy for you to search for wine brands that use natural corks via their CORKwatch database.
Search. Swish. Recycle. Repeat.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock