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Would concern for wildlife make you prefer natural corks?
Confined by nature to the western Mediterranean, the cork oak is the ONLY plant species capable of producing cork at sustainable levels with the physical and chemical qualities to sustain an important industrial sector.

The cork, backbone of the entire cork product chain, is the product that has retained the major export quota in the Portuguese agricultural sector since the mid 1990s, with export values superior to those of Port Wine.

Using only 30-40% raw material but generating 80% of added value, the cork is the pillar of the cork industry. Therefore, the sustainability and continuity of the cork oak forests relies on cork remaining the chosen material for sealing bottled wines.

But it is in wines with high consumer turnover - more than 90% of global wine consumption occurs within one year of bottling - that the future of cork lies. Effectively, the subsidiary products of the cork industry and quality wines, which will surely never descend to the barbarous levels of using plastic corks, are completely insufficient to support the current levels in the cork (product) chain.
While much of the cork debate has been focused on the problems of cork-taint, in the last few years growing attention has been paid to environmental issues.

Natural corks are biodregradable - though very slowly. They can also be recycled. For the alternatives recycling is the only option. Consumers who separate different types of rubbish, simply place screwcaps in the same bags as cans, while plastic corks can be thrown away with other recyclable plastics. For everyone else, these will simply add to the mass of detritus that will go into land-fill sites or incinerated.
SAVE THE CORK OAKS
The montadas are threatened by the increasing use of plastic corks in wine bottles. Read the facts and help the ecology and environment by sending a message in a bottle at http:\\www.naturlink.pt


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Additional Photos by Pedro Gilberto (pgilberto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 101 W: 54 N: 112] (1136)
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