Wine corks

What items can we take?

Any natural cork used for closing bottles! If it feels cold in your hand, it's plastic.

Wine corks

Assorted sizes

Broken

Stained

What isn’t in this category?

Plastic, metal, or mixed materials can’t be recycled with this partner.

Plastic

Metal

Mixed material

Wine corks.

Every year, Americans drink on average, 4.2 billion bottles of wine and 65% of those use natural cork closures. Cork is still the favored option for keeping the wine the bottle--cork allows for the subtle exposure of the wine to oxygen to help it mature, limits the amount of harmful plastics and polymers that might seep into the wine, and is 100% recyclable.

Unlike plastic and metal corks which rarely get recycled and are difficult to handle when they do, cork can be recycled into shoes, flooring, packaging, and other goods that might otherwise be made of plastics. Amazingly, cork harvesting also has a positive effect on our carbon footprint since harvested cork trees fix five times more carbon than unmanaged trees!

Why it shouldn’t be thrown away or recycled curbside

Why opt for cork? Cork is a 100% natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable material that is obtained through an environmentally friendly harvesting process. Cork oak trees can live up to 300 years and are never cut down to harvest cork - the cork actually comes from the bark, which is harvested by hand every 9 years!

Synthetic wine corks are made from materials that are not biodegradable nor sustainably sourced. Aluminum screw caps are difficult to recycle because they’re too small for single-stream recycling systems, not to mention the production of screw caps gives off over 10kg of CO₂ per ton compared with 2.5kg of CO₂ per ton for natural corks!

Every few months, Ridwell will come pick up your wine corks and make sure they get upcycled and remade into sustainable materials that support the cork forests and the families that harvest them!

Partnering with Cork Forest Conservation Alliance

The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance (CFCA) campaigns globally for the protection and preservation of the Mediterranean cork forests, its inhabitants and biodiversity, through education, direct action, and partnerships with communities, businesses and governments.

Approximately 6.6 million acres of Mediterranean cork forest extend across Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France, supporting one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity -- third only to the Amazonian Rainforest. The CFCA’s Cork ReHarvest program collects and recycles some of the 13 billion natural corks that are produced each year.