Cork Harvesting & Production: A 100% Eco-Friendly Process
The harvesting and production of cork is not only sustainable, but it also serves to provide employment and economic purpose for many communities. Cork harvesting is an ancient tradition, using the same method for thousands of years. It is done by hand for two months a year – June and July – when a skilled cork harvester splits off the bark of a cork oak tree without damaging the rest of the tree. Each tree can live between 150 and 250 years, and is harvested every nine years – at least 15 times during its life. No other tree can support and flourish from this process, and cork tree harvesting actually improves the tree’s health and vigor. Furthermore, more than 100,000 individuals in the Western Mediterranean and Northern Africa regions depend on the cork industry for their livelihood.
After harvesting, the removed bark is dried in the sun, and handled differently depending on its use. Expanded Insulation Cork Board is produced from the natural cork granules which are steam-heated, causing the cork to expand. This activates suberin, a natural binder, thus requiring no added binders or chemicals during the production of insulation cork. Facade Cork is made in the same way, though utilizes different, and slightly superior, parts of the cork product for a smooth and more attractive appearance. Throughout the production process of both products, absolutely nothing is wasted. All waste is returned to the production process, making cork harvesting and production one of the most sustainable business practices on the planet.