Any natural cork used for closing bottles! The trick is smell—if it smells dusty, it’s cork! And the dregs are fine.
Plastic, metal, or mixed materials can’t be recycled with this partner.
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!
The majority of cork closures are thrown in the trash. Corks don’t have a huge negative impact in the landfill—they slowly biodegrade and release their carbon over 100 years.
But this is a perfect opportunity to look into ways we can reuse natural products to decrease the need for less sustainable materials. By reusing cork and increasing the demand for a sustainable resource, we can also help nurture the natural cork forests.
Your old corks sit on the counter awaiting your next arts and crafts project, or you have been tossing them in the trash, or forgetting to bring them on your most recent grocery trip!
Every few months, Ridwell will come pick up your wine corks and make sure they get recycled and remade into sustainable materials that supports the cork forests and the families that harvest them.