Cork is the outer bark of the Cork Oak, (Quercus Suber L). – A truly remarkable tree which owes its longevity, (on average, 200 years), to a combination of careful farming, (the trees are not damaged and never cut down), and a natural capacity to regenerate itself. The cork bark is stripped, (harvested), from the tree allowing new bark to grow in its place.
Cork Oaks can be found growing in Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, and North Africa. It is the micro climate and soil types of these regions which allow the trees to flourish and serve as the primary source of raw material for the cork industry. Today more than half of the worlds Cork raw material comes from Portugal where the best quality cork is obtained from the Algarve and the Alentejo regions although central Portugal together with the Southern region are the most productive areas.
A Cork Oak must be at least 25 years old before its bark can be harvested. The first harvest produces ‘Virgin Cork’ which is fairly poor quality and is used in products like flooring and insulation. The second harvest takes place 9 years later but it is not until the third and subsequent harvests that the cork produced obtains the even structure good enough to be used for wine closures and other applications. This 9 year cycle not only produces a constant supply of raw, natural material, it is also kind to the environment as Cork Oak trees store Carbon in order to regenerate their bark. – A harvested Cork Oak tree absorbs up to five times more CO2 than one that isn’t.
Cork has a unique honeycomb cell structure. Each cell is sealed and filled with air and not connected to any other cell. It is very light, yet impermeable to liquids and gases, elastic and compressible, an excellent insulator, fireproof, and resistant to abrasion. Above all, it is completely natural, renewable, and recyclable. It is these qualities which make Cork an ideal material for not only bottle stoppers but for bags, belts, sandals & sofas to name just a few.
Cork’s Unique Properties and Characteristics:
- 100% Natural
- A Sustainable Resource
- Reusable, Recyclable and Biodegradable
- Very Durable: It is resilient to scratches and it is as sturdy as medium quality leather.
- Easy to clean, (it can be cleaned by simply using soap and water)
- Stain and Scratch Resistant
- Light and low in density.
- Waterproof and is resistant to moisture penetration. - You don’t have to spray or treat it!
- Anti Allergenic and Anti Static
- Silky-soft to the touch
- Flexible: It can be shaped into any contour.
- Flame-retardant and Flame-resistant
- Compressible: Cork can be compressed to half its dimension with no loss of its flexibility.
In buying and using cork products, you are contributing to the preservation of a natural, renewable resource and an ecological environment.
Choose a gift from nature. - Choose Cork