Natural Cork Recycling

Natural cork is the bark of the cork oak tree – a completely renewable, sustainable and recyclable product. Once harvested from the tree, it is made into various cork products including wine stoppers. These wine stoppers are used in bottles of wine. But what happens to the cork after the bottle has been finished? Currently, many stoppers end up back in the landfill. With wine consumption on the rise (and even when it wasn’t), that is a lot of cork heading into the landfill. Why not recycle your wine corks and keep them out of the landfills.

In keeping with the company’s concern for the environment, in 2005 Jelinek Cork Group became a major player in North America’s first natural wine cork recycling initiative and from there has continued keeping natural wine corks out of landfills. Jelinek Cork is proud to be involved in various natural wine cork recycling initiatives including Cork ReHarvest, or Cork Forest Conservation Alliance – leading the cork recycling movement.

At Jelinek Cork we currently have two programs for accepting natural wine corks:
• From the public and businesses that may collect many corks through daily operations (bars, wineries, restaurants, etc.)
• From community groups or not-for-profit organizations

From the Public and Businesses:
We currently have collection bins in our Oakville, Ontario locations. Bring your used natural wine corks to one of our collection locations. Natural wine corks are also accepted at Whole Foods locations in the US, Canada and the UK.

If you are not near a collection location, you can either mail us the corks or set up a collection location in your area. Please contact us if you are interested in being a cork collection site.

From Community Groups and Not-for-Profit Organizations:
Community groups, schools or other not for profit organizations should bring their sorted collected natural corks to our Jelinek Cork – Oakville, Ontario, Canada location. The corks need to be put in a brown paper garden refuse bag, which can be bought at all major grocery or hardware stores. Contact us for more details.

Are all wine corks accepted?
Only natural cork bottle stoppers have the ability to be recycled, therefore, synthetic stoppers cannot be placed in a collection bin. A common misconception is that people recycle cork stoppers because there is a “shortage” of cork. This is incorrect. In fact, there is enough cork in the regulated Mediterranean cork forest to last for another 100 years without needing to grow another tree! We are simply diverting waste from landfill sites as there are so many other uses for this wonderful natural product.

What does Jelinek Cork do with the used wine corks?
The recycled wine corks are ground up into granulated cork or cork grain. This cork grain is then used to make many other cork products including cork flooring, cork wall tiles and bulletin boards.