Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm may have once held a funeral for the wine cork, but these days the cork is finding new life—literally. A program called ReCORK America is collecting and recycling wine corks, which can be made into floor tiles, building insulation, shoes, or gardening supplies. According to an article in the Napa Valley Register, one of the program’s new partners is the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, where the wine program alone goes through an estimated 900 corks a day.
ReCORK, which is sponsored by the Portuguese cork manufacturing company Amorim, started as a pilot program in Oregon but has recently expanded to California. Restaurants, wineries, wine shops, and even Whole Foods Markets have signed on. As the ReCORK website points out, “Natural Cork … is a perfect choice for recycling. It’s 100% natural, biodegradable and renewable. There is absolutely no reason natural wine corks should end up as landfill.”
Individual wine drinkers can contribute their corks to the effort as well. ReCORK provides a list of collection sites online.