Cork – a renewable and natural material

harvesting cork

With Portuguese cork exports reaching a record high in 2021, €1.133 billion, a 12 percent increase on 2020’s numbers and 7 percent compared to 2019, it is no wonder that the cork industry is important to the country.

Cork is harvested without harming the tree, which can live for more than 200 years. Providing a renewable and natural product, the cork oak tree can absorb up to 20 tons of CO2 and produce up to 65,000 corks in its lifetime. All this of course helps in the fight against climate change, means no deforestation and jobs for local farmers. Click here for more information about nature’s organic leather.

According to studies last year, conducted by three of the world’s largest auditing companies, when sealing wine in glass bottles using natural cork there is a negative carbon balance ­‑­­ “A single stopper has a balance of up to – 309 grams of CO2; numbers for sparkling wine stoppers go even higher at up to – 589 grams.”

APCOR, the Portuguese Cork Association, has established a campaign called 100% Cork which provides up-to-date information on the benefits of cork and research taking place concerning the material. It also aims to increase awareness of cork’s unique qualities.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of APCOR and 100% Cork revealed that 91 percent of the world’s top wines, selected by Wine Spectator in 2021, were sealed with cork.

For fact-lovers

112 grammes of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and confined in each natural cork – source

177 indigenous and endangered plant and animal species are protected by native cork oak forests – source

0 cork trees are cut down to harvest bark and make cork stoppers

For more interesting facts and triviar about cork, click here.

A bid has been made by the Portuguese Board of Cultural Heritage (DGPC) to make Silves’ old cork factory, known as Fábrica do Inglês, a monument of public interest.

Built in 1893-94, the complex is of obvious historical interest to Silves plus its industrial architecture was not common of that era.

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