Monday, May 6, 2013

Wine Enthusiasts: Those Corks Can Be Saved from Landfill

cork recycling collection box

Did you know corks can be recycled?  I went wine tasting in Sonoma County a couple weeks ago as part of a "cousins" family reunion — lots of fun! — and I saw the collection boxes shown above. When I got back home, I decided to investigate more.

If you want to keep your natural corks out of landfill, you have a number of options.

1. Reuse them yourself.
This is great if you're into crafts; you'll find no shortage of ideas on the web.

2. Donate them to groups that collect craft supplies for others to use.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, both RAFT and SCRAP accept corks. Austin Creative Reuse is happy to get corks. There may be a similar program near you.

3. Give them to others through less formal channels.
Freecycle them. Give them to teachers you know who could use craft supplies.

4. Give them to a collection program that provides them to manufacturers for reuse.
A number of programs around the world collect corks so they can be reused to make footwear, cork flooring, cork tiles, bulletin boards and more.

Here are some of the programs available. If you know of others in your part of the world, please add a comment to this post!

- ReCORK by Amorin is the program whose boxes I saw. There are numerous drop-off locations throughout the United States and Canada; when I entered my city and state, I found there was even one in my little city! Amorin also has collection programs in Portugal, France and Italy.

- Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has its Cork ReHarvest program. There are drop-off locations throughout and U.S. and Canada — and at Whole Foods Markets in these countries and the U.K.

- SmartCork Recycling is a program in North Carolina.

- Yemm & Hart in Missouri has a recycling program, but it's only mail-in.

- Jelinek has three drop-off locations in Ontario, Canada.

- Put a Cork In It has numerous drop-off locations in Vancouver, British Columbia. The collected corks are sent to Jelinek.

5. Compost your corks.
You'll need to break them up into small pieces first. The reuse options sound more appealing to me!

1 comment:

Claire Josefine said...

I just learned of another interesting reuse for corks. My best buddy is fulfilling his life-long dream of keeping bees, and last week we had The Great Bee Installation of two hives on my property. Among other things, bees need a water source, and our beekeeper ("beek") guru suggested a bird bath with corks in it so that the bees don't drown. Evidently this is a common solution to providing a drinking source. Less common (and brilliantly creative) was my friend's solution for a bird bath. He mounted the old satellite dish I had sitting around onto the fence post. I never in a thousand years would have seen that option... Why I love the ADD brain1