Recycling Wine Corks Without a DIY Project

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For the years I’ve been drinking wine, there’s always been something compelling about saving the corks from the bottles I’ve enjoyed (and even the ones I didn’t enjoy). At first, it was some badge of pride, or maybe a way to remember the moments. But I quickly had too many to keep around, so I’d scour the internet to find cork creation projects to put my proud collection to use or on display. I now have a hand-made cork board (obvi), a trivet, a wreath, a bathmat….OK, I didn’t go so far as the bathmat. (I’m not that crafty.)

Interest quickly faded in those projects, and really did I want a house completely decorated in cork?  Maybe….but I didn’t want to create it myself (did I mention I was not crafty?). So alas, my bowls, buckets, and other receptacles containing used corks were soon overflowing waiting for some inspiration.

So what to do with all those used corks? Let someone else recycle them!

There are many organizations who help with this - but here are a few options to get you started.

CORK CLUB - http://www.corkclub.com/

CorkClub recycles for the benefit of causes that protect our oceans and forests. They donate to select non-profit entities that clean plastic from our oceans, prevent deforestation, and teach us all better ways to “live in harmony with our Earth.” For each natural cork they donate 2 cents to Forest and Ocean Conservation, and ensure each synthetic cork is properly recycled. You can request a free shipping label and mail in your corks.

RECORK - https://recork.org/

You can find a drop-off location, or mail in corks directly to ReCORK, who then recycles and repurposes natural cork with their large network of recycling partners. You can also shop for recycled cork products on their website, learn about natural cork, or become one of their partners.

The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance - http://www.corkforest.org/

CFCA advocates the protection and preservation of cork forests and began its recycling program, Cork ReHarvest, in 2008.  You can search for a collection box at one of their many grocers, wine shops and winery tasting rooms on their website.  Recycled cork does not go back into wine bottles, but instead is turned into insulation, cork bobbers for the fishing industry and other consumer products.

Now you can feel even better about all those empty wine bottles and orphaned corks. You’re welcome. :-)



Amanda Wilson