Corks (Plastic) Alternative ways to recycle Put in Garbage Too Small to Recycle Plastic corks are too small to be recovered by recycling sorting equipment. The Difference Between Cork and Plastic While plastic corks are smooth and rubbery, natural corks will feel like a soft wood. Alternative Ways to Recycle CorkClub Recycling CorkClub is a sustainability initiative funded by WidgetCo, a leader in wine cork recycling and upcycling. Mail in both natural and synthetic wine corks in shipments of 5 pounds (or 500 wine corks, or 800 cubic inches). For each natural wine cork received, WidgetCo donates to forest and ocean conservation non-profits, and synthetic wine corks are recycled. Ways to Reduce Choose Screw Caps or Natural Corks Metal screw caps and natural cork closures are both easier to recycle and reuse than plastic corks. Did You Know? The Sustainable Side of Natural Cork Cork trees aren’t cut down to harvest cork. Their bark is stripped by hand through a careful method that has been passed down through generations. It takes cork trees 9-12 years to grow enough bark back to be reharvested. Also, cork trees ramp up their rate of photosynthesis as they grow back their bark, absorbing up to five times more carbon from the atmosphere. A Cork’s Role in Aging Wine Many wines need to age to achieve their peak flavor. The purpose of corking a bottle of wine is to allow a small amount of oxygen — about one milligram per year — into the bottle. Too much oxygen and wine will taste flatter, like cooked fruit. Too little oxygen and it will taste more acidic and meatier. If your wine tastes acidic, you can decant it to improve its flavor before drinking.