• James Armstrong

Pulling wine corks for recycling in Vaudreuil-Dorion


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Got a sentimental pile of old wine corks kicking around? Consider donating them to one of the drop-off points in the region where they’ll eventually be shipped off to be recycled.

The City of Vaudreuil-Dorion has launched a cork-recycling project in partnership with Calgary based business, ReCORK. The project is aimed at collecting used natural corks from wine bottles (not the synthetic type) at three locations in the city. The cork recycling bins are available at City Hall, 2555 Dutrisac Street, the Municipal Library, 51 Jeannotte Street and Recreational and Cultural Services, 3093 Boulevard de la Gare.

Vaudreuil-Dorion joins other municipalities in the region including Hudson, Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, and Pointe-Claire in the West Island in recuperating the 100 per cent natural material.

“It’s an initiative that came from within the city,” said Communications Director Jessica Genest. “We saw how it was functioning in other places and we decided to put the program in place.”

No cost to the city

According to Genest, the service is entirely financed by ReCORK and the greenhouse gases generated in transporting the used cork are offset by planting cork oak trees.

The cork oak tree is described by ReCORK as a carbon sink. The trees absorb carbon from the air and lock it away in their bark. The bark is harvested by hand every nine years causing no environmental consequences or damage to the tree. Harvesting the cork is a very precise technique and is frequently handed down through generations of the same family. As the cork oak tree regenerates its bark, it begins the carbon absorption process again. Cork oak forests are harvested for generations and cover almost 2.7 million hectares of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France.

PHOTO COURTESY VILLE DE VAUDREUIL-DORION

These collection boxes are popping up in various regional areas encouraging residents to drop off their used wine bottle corks for recycling.

Background

Since its inception in 2008, the wine cork-recycling program, ReCORK estimates it has collected over 91 million natural wine corks across North America. The program was created by the Canadian footwear company SOLE. ReCORK describes itself as an alliance of business and individuals that work together to create environmental change by collecting and repurposing natural wine corks.

Environmentally friendly products

The company grinds down the collected corks and uses the material to create a variety of products including footwear, yoga blocks, and surf traction pads. Cork is an extremely versatile, durable material that is naturally rot-resistant and moisture-wicking making it a good material for repurposing into eco-friendly products.

Keeping cork out of landfill sites

Genest pointed out the recovery of wine bottle corks in the available collection boxes offered by Vaudreuil-Dorion diverts a new material from a landfill site. Natural cork is not permitted in the brown bins used for food residue collection. Plastic corks are recyclable if identified with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

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