It's that time of year again. The time of year to go out and scratch heads about what to give your friends and family as gifts. It's not only a consumer world we're living in, but a conscious one as well. Surrounded by everything that is not environmentally friendly, or just part of a throw away culture, and frankly causes us to just look the other way most of the time. Well folks, I am here to spread the cheerful joy of the incredible cork tree, and its delightful bark. If nothing else, to shed some negative carbon footprint on the world of consumerism.
Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree, harvested from the tree allowing new bark to grow in its place without killing or damaging the trees (think shoring a sheep), and cork isn't just for wine and liquor bottles anymore. How about a cork umbrella? I'm sure you've heard of cork flooring, well cork can also be used for the walls, insulation in the walls, coatings for the outside of the walls, lamp shades and anything you can make out of leather. The truth of the matter is, cork is so versatile and the list of products that can be created are almost endless; new products are being developed all of the time. Not only can cork be processed to created all sorts of products, and never mind that cork is naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, resistant to insects, fire, water and oil. We at Jelinek Cork are always challenging people to come up with a material with less of a carbon footprint than cork.
Being that cork regrows after harvesting, this alone makes every tree a renewable source of raw material. After about 200 years, two saplings are planted in its place, to ensure cork forests continue to flourish and expand. Of course, the cork tree drops its own acorns that mature into productive trees as well. The cork oak actually increases its ability to absorb these gasses during the natural regeneration process following harvesting. A stripped cork absorbs on average, five times more CO2, following this harvesting. In addition, the ability to retain carbon dioxide is also passed on to manufactured cork products, which continue to ensure this function to absorb CO2 It has been estimated that every year cork oak forests retain up to 14 million tons of CO2, a sizable contribution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Corks' lists of contributions to the environment go on and on.
The point is, is that cork should be celebrated. Cork should be used, and cork should be understood. So this year when you pop open that bottle of Champagne or bottle of wine or liquor, raise a glass to our friend the cork tree. Cheers!