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Apr 062010
 

From Green right Now Reports

Whole Foods Market is starting a wine cork recycling program to make it easy for wine enthusiasts to properly dispose of corks. The company said it will accept natural wine corks at all of its 292 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Austin-based Whole Foods Market is partnering with Cork ReHarvest to help collect and recycle the corks. (See our earlier story on Cork ReHarvest.)

There are about 13 billion natural corks produced each year. The Mediterranean oak forests that supply cork support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity and the second-highest number of plant species in the world. Whole foods said that no trees are cut down during cork extraction — instead, bark is hand-harvested every 9 to 12 years.

The new cork recycling program will result in virtually zero increase in carbon footprint, Whole Foods Market said. Corks will make their entire journey from stores to recycling centers on trucks that already are en route to each destination.

“We often forget that cork is a renewable, recyclable material that does not belong in landfills,” Erez Klein, wine and beer buyer for Whole Foods Market’s Pacific Northwest Region, said in a statement. “Whole Foods Market is excited to make cork recycling more accessible to our shoppers. Cork ReHarvest allows us to help sustain cork forests, a critically important resource for our planet, and to do so with near effortless local community action.”

West of the Rockies, corks will be delivered to Western Pulp, where they will be turned into recyclable wine shippers containing 10 percent 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 corks will be made into post-consumer products.