While it is clear that cork is incredibly useful in our everyday lives it is often overlooked due to the seemingly mundane tasks that it performs. This is, however, the key characteristic of the most important things in the world, those materials that are indispensable but usually never in the spotlight.
Cork has been valued and used for thousands of years and the extraction of the material is a noble and equally ancient tradition. Not only is it incredibly useful it is also one of the most environmentally friendly materials available. As the world is waking up to the need of eco-friendly alternatives, cork is becoming a real focus once again.
The Reasons That Cork Is Highly Eco-Friendly
The main reason that cork is considered almost entirely green is because the process doesn’t harm the tree that it is harvested from at all. In fact, the extractors of cork rely on this process allowing the tree to flourish as they intend to harvest it again after a set period of time. This keeps the forests protected and the habitats in-tact.
In addition to being sustainable to harvest, cork production has remained eco-friendly throughout the years. Not only is there very little waste in the production process but cork is also very easily recycled. Recycling initiatives have been thrown into the spotlight lately by organizations such as the cork forest conservation alliance http://www.corkforest.org/
The Environmental Impact
The importance of these trees to local and national income has meant that many countries have put protection in place for the Cork Oak. In Portugal it is illegal to cut down an oak, alive or dead, without the proper permission.
This approach has meant that large areas of southern Portugal and Spain have been protected from desertification, which is a huge problem in similar areas that do not have these protection laws.
There are many endangered species living in the area with the Cork Oaks and it has been estimated that the plant diversity in every square meter numbers in over 100!
The Most Famous Use Of Cork
The most known use of cork is wine and champagne stoppers. There have been countless studies and attempts from bottling companies to try and find an alternative better than cork but one has not been found yet. Thankfully!
Not only is cork the most environmentally friendly wine and champagne stopper but when compared to a range of other options it lets out the least amount of CO2 over time as well.
Cork is not just for stoppers anymore
While the use of cork in a wine bottle might be the most known about, this certainly isn’t the limit to the material. It can be found in a wide range of products, including: shoes, woodwind instruments, wall tiles, baseballs and can even be mixed into concrete to provide it with a lower thermal conductivity and better energy absorption.
This is only the beginning and cork has been used in a wide range of developmental programs. It has been shown to be effectively used for bricks by a Portuguese design company and NASA has used cork as part of a spacecraft heat shield. From climate control to replacing the interiors of vehicles that are traditionally made of wood or aluminum, there really is no end to the uses of cork.
Corature is trying to lead the way in alternative uses and make cork a popular fashion material!
Seemingly Endless Possibilities
Cork is ready for innovation. In a world that is starting to properly focus on environmental issues, as it needs to, this is a crucial time to start to think what we can do with this truly sustainable material.