Regardless of the tendency of screw caps, boxed wine, and plastic corks in the wine business, cork remains the dominate material of choice in regards to sealing up our cherished wine. Although you might feel that using natural pine in this manner is a waste of materials, the fact is that the cork industry is a renewable sector; cork can be reused in all from flooring tiles, to construction insulation, to soil conditioner, to sports gear. If you are like me, you’ve been accumulating a group of corks for quite a while now, and have no idea what to do with it. Do not just toss them in the trash — read on to learn how to maintain this durable material out of our landfills.
The key thing to know about natural cork is that harvesting it does not call for cutting a tree down. Natural cork comes from the bark of cork trees using a special axe which does not damage the tree at all. The bark is harvested every 9 to 12 years, and the cork trees will still live to be centuries old. Recycling and reusing cork reduces the strain to harvest before the trees are fully ready, as well as keeping materials out of landfills.
Photo by ShadyH on Flickr.com
Dogwood Design & Home
Use It. Produce a kitchen backsplash! Cork is a durable but flexible material that has dozens of applications. Designer Regina Pace used it in this kitchen backsplash.
This kitchen was constructed on a budget, so Pace wanted to make sure it looked fine while still keeping it affordable. She spiced up the look of the area by combining affordable box cabinetry with 1″ x 2″ split-face travertine tile mixed up with corks.
Cut in half, the corks were just the right dimensions to make a unique pattern with this kitchen backsplash.
This Houzz user did something similar with no tile. Employing a combination of about 650 gathered and purchased corks, she cut them in half and stuck them to the horizontal side of the wall using double-stick foam tape.
Produce immediate art. Create trivets (like this one from The Wooden Bee), bulletin boards, coasters, or wall artwork out of corks. Since cork is so durable, you truly don’t need to do anything to protect them. But, if you really wanted to, then you can employ a spray-on polyurethane to the corks before putting them in their framework.
Create a bathmat. Monica in The Crafty Nest put together this chic bathmat using 175 gathered wine corks, a hot glue gun, along with a non-adhesive shelf liner. Read her post for additional information.
Other family uses for wine corks:
Slice a little wedge lengthwise out of a cork and set it to a vinegar or olive oil jar that pops too fast. It will become an minute pour spout.
Sterile high-carbon knives using a dash of cleanser and a cork to prevent scratching the knives.
Shop knifes in drawers by cutting slits to the top of a cork, and storing the knives blade down.
Slice modest discs from the cork and set them on the bottom of furniture that can scratch the floor. You can also set them on cupboard doors to stop them from tripping loudly.
Use corks as garden mulch. Grind up corks using a food processor and add the mixture to your garden bed. The cork retains a lot of moisture. You can also place this mixture in the bottom of flower pots.
Frame corks from bottles started for memorable events, or perhaps just put a few corks out of your favourite bottles in a framework. This user framed corks from champagne bottles that they started when all the kids was born.
Cut a small slit in a cork and level from the bottom to make a place-card holder for dinner parties, or use as a business card holder.
Place one next to your sewing kit for a fast pin holder.
Corks make excellent stamps for crafts! Simply carve out the design of your selection with an X-acto knife.
Lose ItRegrettably, you can’t just toss your used corks in your recycling bin. However, there are numerous organizations devoted to reusing cork and keeping it out of the waste flow.
ReCORK is a natural wine cork recycling program that collects millions of used corks from individuals, retail organizations, hotels, winery tasting rooms, bottling lines, and much more. Email your used corks in their facility, where they will be processed to everything from sports products to shoe soles.
TerraCycle’s Cork Brigade upcycles used corks into several products available at major retailers. Sign up at TerraCycle.net and mail your corks in. Should you accumulate 200 or more corks, they will cover your shipping costs as well.
Green manufacturing company Yemm & Hart accepts natural corks which are sent in their processing facility. The Missouri-based organization is converting them to wine cork tiles for design and construction functions.
Jelinek Cork Group reuses the corks and turns them into nearly everything, such as ceilings, flooring, dartboards and fishing pole handles. Check out their locations to mail corks to a facility that is nearest to you.
How do you re-use your corks? Tell us! Share a photo in the comment section below.
More Use It or Lose Its:
How to Get Rid of a Mattress
What To Do With Leftover Building Materials
How to Get Rid of Old Light Bulbs