Cork Recycling

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Weaver Street Market is excited to partner with Cork ReHarvest and the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance as a collection site for natural cork. Founded in 2008, Cork ReHarvest facilitates collection and recycling of some of the billions of natural corks that are produced each year. They also educate about the importance of protecting the Mediterranean cork forests.

Cork is a natural, renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable material obtained through an environmentally-friendly harvesting process: cork trees are not cut down, but instead the bark is hand-harvested off the trees. Cork oak trees can live up to 200 years, producing a cork harvest every nine years. The trees store carbon as they regenerate their bark; a harvested cork tree absorbs up to five times more carbon than a tree that is not harvested!

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The cork forests extend over six million acres across Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. They contain one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity, support air quality, and prevent soil erosion in addition to helping the climate through carbon dioxide sequestration.

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Buying wine bottles with real corks supports a sustainable industry and the existence of the cork forests, and the corks can be recycled while other types of bottles closure cannot. Recycled corks are turned into useful products but not into new wine bottle closures, so recycling them does not reduce the need for new cork production. Cork ReHarvest has also developed a recycling system with regional centers and transport for the corks on trucks that would be returning empty, so that there is no additional carbon footprint.

Learn more about the movement at www.corkreharvest.org and remember to look for the Cork ReHarvest collection bins at our stores: in the wine department in Carrboro and by the exit door in Hillsborough.

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