Corks – They’re Not Just for Wine Bottles Anymore
When you think of corks, you think of wine bottles. And Portugal is the world’s largest producer of corks – they have 32.5 percent of the global total of cork trees, over 737,000 hectares planted.
For many years cork had a secure position as “the” way to seal a wine bottle.
But more and more wine producers are switching to metal or plastic caps. They cost less, are easier to remove, and are not subject to shrinkage, which can cause problems with improperly stored wine.
The cork producers are not standing by idly, watching their market share dwindle. They are looking for new ways to use cork, and some are very creative.
The world’s first stamp made entirely from cork was issued in Portugal on Wednesday, November 29, 2007, in a ceremony intended to show how the cork industry is finding new ways to use cork in the world of metal and plastic screw tops.
The stamp is made of extremely thin “paper cork”, just 0.35mm thick. The first print run was of 230,000 stamps. And like snowflakes, every stamp is unique since cork is a natural product and has a cellular makeup.
The cork stamp was designed by Joao Machado, a Portuguese engraver. It’s face-value is one euro and it has a picture of a cork-tree on a hill. The debut ceremony took place at the Lisbon parliament.
This is not the only way the cork industry is developing. It is also coming up with construction materials such as insulation and siding, and even finding uses in such state-of-the-art areas as aeronautics, due to its light weight, stretchiness and water resistance. It also fits nicely with environmental awareness, as it is a biodegradable,renewable resource that can be recycled.