Put a cork in landfill waste

Dear Wine Ladies,

The Girl Guides of Ontario were involved in a recycling program of wine corks in conjunction with a company called Jelinek Cork Group a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I haven’t seen or heard any more of this for quite a while. Is there still a recycling program in place? Are there any others?


Dear Heather

Thanks for “recycling” this very important issue. Indeed, Jelinek Cork Group www.jelinek.com is still greatly involved in cork recycling as are many other companies including Whole Foods Markets, in collaboration with Rainforest Alliance and Willamette Valley Vineyards from Oregon. WVV was the first winery to launch a cork-recycling program with zero increase to its carbon footprint. “The cork forests are second to the Amazon Rainforest in their importance to the world’s biosphere; the Cork Re-Harvest program is needed to sustain the cork forests of Portugal, Spain and other cork producing countries”, Founder and President of Willamette was quoted as saying. The word is that Whole Foods Markets are also participating in this important initiative in other regions as well.

As to Jelinek Cork Group, although the specific program “Bag-a-Cork” partnering Jelinek Cork Group and the Girl Guides has ended, the company found there was such a demand for cork recycling that they announced a new program last December. Reaching out to communities, schools and other not for profit organizations, Jelinek Cork Group asks for corks to be sorted and bagged prior to dropping them off at their facility at which point they will pay $15.00 for each bag. To date Jelinek Cork Group has diverted over 8 tonnes of cork that was destined to end up in landfill.

Across the Atlantic,”Green Cork”, another cork recycling program, the first of its kind in Portugal is gaining momentum, with various goals such as planting new oak trees, creating new nature reserves, and preserving select endangered animal species. This project involves collecting used natural cork wine stoppers at over 9000 coffee shops and restaurants, and from several cork collection boxes available in major supermarkets.
For further details on any of the above, please email us at info@thewineladies.com for specific websites.

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