Cork - One of the most renewable and ecologically friendly materials found anywhere in the world
Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber). After the cork bark is harvested from the tree, the bark immediately begins to renew itself. Not a single tree is cut down during harvest. Generally, after nine years of growth the bark is two inches thick. It is often at this point when the tree is re-harvested. Cork trees live 200-500 years.
MORE THAN RENEWABLE
Cork not only begins to renew its bark immediately after harvest but during the trees entire lifespan it is filtering carbon dioxide thereby reducing greenhouse gases. Furthermore, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats, as well as the highest diversity of plants found anywhere in the world”.
NOT GOING EXTINCT
Despite rumours, cork is not going extinct. However, some winemakers are causing the cork habitat to be threatened by converting from real wine corks to synthetic and screw caps. Because of the decrease in use of real wine cork, the value of cork as a raw material has gone down. This may cause cork forest owners to sell their land, which in turn may be converted to alternative use (such as real estate development).
BY USING CORK YOU ARE HELPING OUR PLANET
The more cork that is used, the more value the farmers who own the forests get out of their land, making it less likely they will sell their land for development. By using cork you are helping to preserve the forest habitat and thereby reducing greenhouse gases and contributing to biodiversity among plant and animal life. There are many other benefits, including poverty alleviation (many cork forests are in rural North Africa and are critical to their local economy) and employment.
The construction industry has been quick to embrace cork as an acoustic underlayment in multilevel units and for flooring. The interior design industry is also on the cutting edge with unique uses of cork. Both industries also recognize that cork contributes favorably to the LEED rating system. Please encourage your favorite winemaker to support the natural solution and think how you can integrate cork into your home or office.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Please visit our website or this link to the World Wildlife Fund: