Cork is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is found primarily in the Mediterranean region. The first harvest is taken when a tree is 25 years old. The bark can then be harvested ever 9 years.
It is a renewable resource but has a large environmental footprint given the time and space required for harvest.
Like all trees, cork oak trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks, making them important for mitigating the impacts of climate change. In addition, the process of harvesting cork is environmentally friendly, as the bark can be removed from the tree without causing any damage.
Cork has many applications: floor tiles, wall tiles, bulletin boards, and coasters. Cork is also used in the fashion industry to make shoes, handbags, and other accessories.
Your Cork may not be Cork
Most wine corks today are a mixture of natural and synthetic materials, with a thin layer of natural cork on the outside and a synthetic material on the inside. This combination is referred to as a "composite cork." The use of synthetic materials in wine corks has become increasingly popular in recent years due to concerns about cork taint, which is a musty odor that can be transferred to the wine from natural cork.
Overall, the use of natural and synthetic wine corks varies by winery and region, and there is no clear trend towards one or the other. Some wineries continue to use natural cork exclusively, while others have switched entirely to synthetic corks or a mixture of the two