When it comes to recycling most people don’t think of the wine cork. Usually people either save them as mementos, turn them into trivets, bulletin boards or in one rare case a suit, or the simply place them back into the wine bottle and toss the bottle in the recycling bin.
For personal consumption it’s perhaps not that big an issue but when you are talking about restaurants and wine tasting rooms, that can be a lot of corks. ReCork America is a new recycling program sponsored by Amorim, a Portuguese cork manufacturer. The project began as a pilot program in Oregon is in place in many San Francisco businesses and restaurants and is spreading into Napa Valley, the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena recently came onboard. The plan is to eventually take cork recycling nationwide.
Used corks can be recycled and remade into floor tiles, insulation, gardening products and more. According to an article in the Napa Valley Register, the biggest problem is logistics, if it takes more energy to pick up the corks than it negates the worth of the recycling. So far, this has been a grassroots program with people getting the word out and working to gather corks to deliver to collection centers as well as starting to brainstorm new uses for the recycled cork.
For more information, visit the ReCork America website.