Cork Supply has set zero waste as one of our sustainability goals, and is proactive in seeking to eliminate and reuse waste resulting from our operations. In addition to making energy-efficiency and waste-reducing improvements and investments throughout our operations, we seek to reuse and recycle wherever possible.
Targeting our two main production inputs — corkwood and water — Cork Supply has developed closed-loop systems to optimize material and energy waste in both cases.
Reuse of Cork By-Products
Cork Supply uses only the finest grades of corkwood for our premium wine corks. Yet, virtually 100% of harvested corkwood can be utilized to make a variety of commercial and consumer goods. Therefore, at every stage from the forest onward, Cork Supply has developed closed-loop systems to capture all excess and sub-grade corkwood by-products. We supply these to third-party manufacturers who use them to make technical corks, firewood briquettes and other items of value.
Likewise, a substantial amount of cork dust is produced in making corks. Cork Supply has installed a centralized vacuum system throughout our production facilities to capture this cork dust before it reaches the air. This creates a cleaner, healthier work environment. Moreover, it transforms this waste into a useable material that Cork Supply provides to third-party producers for making colmated corks. In addition to creating a closed-loop process, this increases the value of lower-grade corks that are colmated with this dust.
High-Efficiency Use of Heat Energy & Water
Cork Supply has installed a high-efficiency corkwood boiler system that optimizes both heat energy and water usage. After each batch of corkwood is boiled, heated wastewater gravitates to a holding tank, where a heat exchanger transfers the heat energy from the wastewater to a new batch of clean water. Water use is simultaneously maximized via continuous high-pressure filtration and recycling of boiling water through a steam condensation collection and purging system that prevents cross-contamination between batches.