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Article: What is Cork and Why is it a Sustainable Material?

Plant stands

What is Cork and Why is it a Sustainable Material?

I've been working with cork for a few years now, using it on the bottom of coasters, trays and keepsake boxes to product the surface beneath them. The material is not only functional it's also gorgeous and so I wanted to feature it more heavily in a piece and so, I designed the flat pack cork plant stand. 

Cork is one of those materials that we all know of but don't necessarily know about. Let me share some info...

Cork is harvested mainly from the native cork oak trees of Portugal, but also from other places in Southern Europe and Northern Africa. 

So is cork sustainable? I’m happy to say that the answer is yes: cork is sustainable and eco-friendly, because extracting it doesn’t damage the trees. It just keeps on growing back, and once every nine years, the cork extraction can begin again. Those interested in sustainable cork products can rest assured that there is always ‘more where that came from’!

What’s so great about cork?

 Cork has a lot going for it, in fact. Here are a few of its strengths:

  • Cork is an eco-friendly raw material that is abundant and easily renewable
  • Cork is water and fire resistant
  • Cork has elastic qualities and is very flexible
  • Cork is the reason for much of the biodiversity of the Mediterranean
  • Cork benefits the economies of the countries it is sourced from
  • Cork is a viable alternative to plastic, with a much lower ecological footprint
  • Cork is natural and requires minimal processing
  • Cork looks beautiful and adds an earthy, warm feel to your home environment

There was a time when I used to think of cork as something that simply plugged wine bottles, but that is no longer the case. Sustainable cork products can be found in various forms of design and architecture, such as floors, walls, furniture and even clothing. Would you believe that even NASA uses it in their space shuttles for its water resistant qualities?

Here’s one more thing I love about the sustainability factor of cork: the more cork sells, the more cork oak trees must be planted, which leads to a positive ecological cycle. This definitely contributed to the excitement I felt when introducing a minimalistic and stylish cork plant stand it to my collection. 

@tiarnekatona styling / @josie_m_photography photography

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