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The best foot forward for cork recycling

ReCork America, a US-based wine cork recycling programme sponsored by Amorim of Portugal, is partnering with Sole of Canada to reclaim and “upcycle” a portion of the billions of natural cork wine and Champagne closures opened each year by US and Canadian consumers.

Sole is a leading manufacturer of footwear products with distribution throughout North America. Mike Baker, Sole’s CEO, views the partnership with ReCork as a good opportunity for both companies to deliver on their sustainable business models.

He says: “We have been working with ReCork for over eight months. They provided us with thousands of used corks and we did the research and development necessary to successfully come up with a cork blend in our footwear products that enhances the material properties of the footwear while extending the useful life of the cork for years to come. This is the kind of sustainable effort that benefits everyone.”

ReCork and Sole have an agreement to find sustainable ways to reuse and recycle as many corks as can be collected. Roger Archey, a spokesman for ReCork, says the timing is perfect: “We have collected nearly four million corks since the programme started in 2007, without promotion or fanfare.”

ReCork’s recycling partners include many familiar names in the wine, hospitality and retail markets, including American Airlines/Sodexo, The Wine Tasting Network (WTN), Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Cakebread Cellars, Whole Foods Markets in Northern California, the Culinary Institute of America and Rutherford Wine.

1 October 2009 - James Graham