- Cork is a tree bark fiber, that is used for its lightweight and porous properties.
- Cork is harvested in forests of “Cork Oak”, predominantly in Portugal. Cork extraction does not kill the tree, and can be repeated every nine years, for up to 300 years.1 To harvest, bark is scored with an axe and pulled away by hand. 2 Binding the loose cork into a panel is done by grinding, soaking, and baking, that activates the wood’s natural resins. 3
- The harvesting and processing is environmentally friendly, due to it’s non mechanical harvesting process, and the utilization of the material’s natural properties. However, water is heavily used and could be considered wasteful, though it is regularly filtered, cleaned, and reused.
- Due to manual labor required, cork production is a major employer in countries such as Portugal.
Safe Use and Exposure
- Cork is safe to use, and even has natural qualities that makes it a fire retardant. 4
- Cork is natural and biodegradable, and can even be disposed in compost with food waste.5 Usable cork can be donated to givetake.
- Cork is already a safe alternative to other porous material such as foam.