The animated crowds that gathered at the Austin Wine + Food Festival and the San Diego Bay Food + Wine Festival, both held in Nov., discovered something new at this year’s events—cork recycling boxes dotting the grounds. The boxes were part of environmentally-focused partnerships between 100% Cork and the two festivals to promote the sustainability of cork closures.
With a shared interest in addressing the most pressing ecological issues facing the U.S. wine industry today, 100% Cork partnered with both festivals to implement groundbreaking cork recycling initiatives, the first of their kind at the events. Drawing on the services of ReCork, North America’s largest recycler of corks, the festivals provided recycling bins for consumers and participating wineries.
100% Cork supported the sustainability efforts with on-site education to help wine lovers learn about the incredible carbon sequestration properties of cork forests, cork closures, and cork as a material in general. Enthusiastic crowds lined up at 100% Cork’s booths during both events to sample from a wide selection of some of the nation’s leading wines bottled under natural cork. They also learned about some of the products being made from recycled cork including yoga blocks, footbeds and shoes.
The tenth annual Austin Food + Wine Festival, held Nov. 5th to the 7th, featured a sustainability seminar led by Mandi Nelson, founder of Austin Shift Meal. Attendees packed the seminar to learn how to become sustainable wine drinkers, starting with the choice of closure. The following weekend, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival encouraged food and wine lovers to bring their natural corks from home to recycle at the festival, which ran Nov. 11th to the 15th. Participants who recycled their corks at 100% Cork’s booths received exclusive discounts on wines from winery partners and were entered to win a prize package.
Cork is a perfect balance between environmental preservation and sustainable development. It’s harvested without damaging or cutting down cork oak trees, which live for over 200 years. The cork oak forest is one of 36 biodiversity hotspots, and can retain 14,000,000 tons of CO2 per year. It’s estimated that for every ton of cork produced, cork oak forests capture up to 73 tons of CO2. As a renewable and natural product, cork can be recycled to produce a variety of everyday products, and is integral to the continued retention of CO2.
In 2021, 100% Cork launched a new integrated communications campaign to promote the environmental benefits of cork, which continues to be the market leader for the premium wine market in the U.S. Natural cork closures have a negative carbon footprint when used to seal wines bottled in glass containers according to recent studies conducted by three of the world’s largest auditing companies. A single stopper has a balance of up to – 309 grams of CO2; numbers for sparkling wine stoppers go even higher at up to – 589 grams.Working with ReCork and the two festivals, 100% Cork helped wine lovers learn about the full life cycle of cork closures once they are pulled from a bottle, highlighting the small, but highly impactful ways that they can become climate activists through the simple process of recycling cork.