Beginning in February 2018, Seeds for Kindness features cork products from Portugal. Although cork has been used widely in wine bottles and flooring, it has recently been adapted as a sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable, and vegan alternative to leather.
Cork bags, wallets, totes, even jewelry are made from the bark of the cork tree. Cork is the only tree that regenerates its stripped bark. Cork forests are carefully managed because it takes 9-10 years for the stripped tree to be ready to harvest again.
Cork trees are harvested after the age of 25. They live more than 200 years. Cork trees require no soil preparation, irrigation, pesticides or herbicides. Cork oaks store carbon, and reduce greenhouse gases. They store carbon in order to regenerate their bark, and a harvested cork tree absorbs up to five times more carbon than one that isn’t harvested.
According to the World Wildlife Fund:
“Cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forests habitats, as well as the highest diversity of plants found anywhere in the world. In cork oak landscapes, plant diversity can reach 135 species every square meter: many have aromatic, culinary, or medicinal value.”
Cork is a naturally water resistant material. It is antistatic, antimicrobial and contains a waxy fire-resistant substance called suberin. Cork is resistant to abrasion, thanks to its honeycomb structure. It does not absorb dust, so is beneficial for allergy sufferers.
Cork bark is harvested by hand, then it is allowed to dry for six months. Once dried, the bark is boiled in water to reduce microflora and allow the cork cells to expand and become more flexible. The cork is then left to dry for two days before it is ready to be formed into bottle stoppers, flooring, bags, wallets, and jewelry.
Cork–it’s not just for wine and champagne anymore! Check out our selection of cork products and help us support sustainability and a healthy environment.