Cork is light, elastic, flexible, waterproof, durable, and non-conductive. It’s also a thermal and acoustic insulator and can absorb chock. With a never-ending list of qualities, it’s no wonder it’s also used for a never-ending quantity of things, from construction to rockets, but its most widely known use is as a natural wine stopper for sparkling and regular wine.
This vegetal fabric corresponds to the cork tree bark, which is a relative of the oak and widespread in the South of the European continent.
Portugal produces more than 50% of the cork used worldwide. Cork can only be extracted from cork trees over 25 years, and then every 9 years. Every time, the outer bark becomes softer and softer and from the third extraction onward it can be used to produce wine corks.
Cork oaks can live up to 300 years and provide up to 17 stocks of cork. Extraction is delicate work done by specialized workers, as you must extract as much material as you without hurting the tree. A job well done is often compared to shearing a sheep’s wool.
Cork is also hypoallergenic, recyclable, and biodegradable, and therefore has a much smaller ecological footprint than plastic and aluminum.
For those reasons, Portuguese enterprises and designers have been favoring cork as true material for the future and have been surprising the world constantly with this irreverent supply!
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