Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Cork ReHarvest

Cork ReHarvest Logo Ever feel guilty about tossing a wine cork into the trash? You should! Truth be told, I’ve thrown away a few wine corks myself. But not anymore. Cork is a renewable, recyclable material that doesn’t belong in our landfills. What to do? Bring your corks to our stores, drop them in the handy Cork ReHarvest boxes and feel good again! Cork ReHarvestStarting today, Whole Foods Market partners with Cork ReHarvest to make it easy for wine enthusiasts to properly dispose of cork at all of our 292 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Since 2008, the nonprofit and Rainforest Alliance-endorsed Cork ReHarvest has led the cork recycling movement in North America, helping to collect and recycle some of the 13 billion natural corks that are produced each year. Cork recycling helps to reduce demand placed on cork plantations while maintaining the delicate ecosystem of the Mediterranean forests and helps thousands of producers maintain a sustainable income to support their families. Thanks to World Wildlife Fund and Rainforest Alliance, here are some interesting facts and figures on the Mediterranean cork forests:
  • Approximately 6.6 million acres of Mediterranean cork forest extend across Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France.
  • Oak forests support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity.
  • Natural cork extraction is one of the most environmentally friendly harvesting methods in the world. Not a single tree is cut down in the process. Instead, renewable bark is stripped by hand every 9-12 years and cork oaks can live up to 300 years.
  • Cork oak trees store carbon in order to regenerate their bark, and a harvested cork oak tree absorbs up to five times more [carbon dioxide] than one that isn’t harvested.
  • Additionally, no bark is wasted during the cork production process, and the residue is granulated to make other cork products and even cork dust is used for fuel.
Cork ReHarvest2I’m betting some astute readers out there are asking: “What’s the environmental impact of this recycling program? Does it make sense to pack up and ship cork around the country for recycling?” We thought about that too. Here’s the deal: Corks make their entire journey from our stores to recycling centers on trucks already in-route to each destination with virtually zero increase in carbon footprint. Corks are sent to our distribution centers on trucks already headed that way then picked up by FedEx trucks (another Cork ReHarvest partner) that are passing by our distribution centers en route to their destinations, which include a stop at cork recycling partners. Curious what all those corks become in their new life? West of the Rockies, corks will be delivered to Western Pulp, where they will be turned into recyclable wine shippers containing 10% cork. In the Midwest, corks will be sent to Yemm & Hart, which produces cork floor tiles. And on the East Coast and in the UK, corks will be transported to Jelinek Cork Group, one of the oldest cork manufacturers in North America, where old corks will be made into post-consumer products. Cork Banner So, enjoy that next bottle of wine with a newfound satisfaction of knowing exactly what to do with the cork!

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

121 comments

Comments

Nancy Mosquera says …

I am thrilled that you are collecting corks as I have many of them and have been looking for a place to ship them. I have contacted a few places that I saw on my search, hoping to hear from them. However, I do not have a Whole Foods near my home in NJ, at least one I do not know of. I would love it if you would put a Whole Foods in south Jersey. However, I want to know if you are still collecting corks and where would be a whole foods location for me to bring my corks, or could I mail them to you?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@NANCY - I would check with the store that is closest to you to find out if they still recycle cork and if they can accept them via the mail. If not, you can always get in touch with Cork Reharvest directly via their website.

Jane Martin says …

Science teachers are poised to launch a recycling effort for corks here at FHCDS middle school. Before we do, however, we want to be sure that you still support the program. The web info says 2010. Are you still up and running in 2014-2015?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JANE - Since this is an older post, I would suggest checking with your local store to see if they still accept corks.

Kelsey Brunelle says …

We need a new box here at Fresh Pond. Anyone know how to get a new one?? Thank You :)

Trish says …

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I have been collecting corks for recycling but the outlet I used has closed. Do you know of any cork recycling in Melbourne Thanks Trish

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@TRISH - Unfortunately we do not have any store locations in Australia. I would suggest finding a recycling facility in your area to see if they recycle corks or know of anyone else who can!

Sissy Ashby says …

Do you also take plastic corks?k

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SISSY - Most stores will only recycle real cork but check with your local store to find out for sure!

Ann Gael says …

WF at 24th & 7th, NYC, doesn't take corks! Ha! Why not? NOT all of your stores take them. Why not?

A.DeFrancesco says …

I am Vice President of the Italian Student society at PENN STATE UNIVERSITY , STATE COLLEGE PA. We wanted to kick off our club this 2015-2016 school year with a recycling initiative. Since wine is synonymous with Italians we would love to participate with your cork reharvest initiative. Would it be possible for us to receive a Dropbox to set up onsite on campus in our designated club room. Our members could have all their immediate and extended family members save corks and mail them to their PSU student / Italian Student Society club member. It would most likely extend to other students as well. I can provide you with a mailing address if interested. We would love to participate and support your cause. Thank you for the consideration. Anthony DeFrancesco

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ANTHONY - I would suggest reaching out to the ReHarvest company at http://www.corkforest.org/contact/ for more info on how to obtain a box.

Mary says …

Do you recycle ALL corks -- or just "cork corks"? The ones in the wine I enjoy seem to be some sort of unnatural mixture.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARY - Most stores will only recycle 100% cork, corks but check with your local store to double check. They'll be happy to help!

Stacy says …

Great article, exactly what I needed.

pamela a. sharrow says …

where is the store closest to my zip code,, 48230, that we can deposit our wine bottle corks! Thank you!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PAMELA - It appears the closest store to you is Detroit so I would suggest reaching out to them at 313.576.5300 to find out if they recycle corks.

Catherine Desjarlais says …

I am saving wine corks now and would like to know where I can drop to recycle. Thanks.

Tal Fried says …

Is this program still active? My local Whole Foods 57 & 2 Ned avenue does not know about it.

Julie Hall says …

The last time I tried to find the cork recycling container in the Albuquerque Wyoming/Academy store, an associate said they were no longer recycling corks. Is that just for this store? I have about 40 corks I'm trying recycle.

PAM WRIGHT says …

Which stores accept corks in the Denver area - not all of them do I discovered. Thank you!

Pages