If you drink wine, you probably have noticed that not all corks look or feel the same. There are ones made from natural cork, synthetic plastic corks, and the new trend of aluminum screw caps. You may have even heard debates arguing over which type is better than the other. We would like to share some facts about each topper, and how they relate to the environment.
As you may have read in our previous blog post, Harvested Cork Removes Additional CO2, cork is considered a carbon ‘fixer’. This simply means that through the growth and extraction of cork, the material actually retains more CO2 than is generated through the process. Data has shown that for every kilogram (kg) of final cork product processed 1.83 kg of CO2 is fixed.
Cork vs Plastic vs Aluminum Bottle Stoppers
In a life cycle analysis conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers/Ecobilan, it was determined that a plastic bottle stopper releases 10 times more CO2 than a natural cork stopper, and an aluminum closure releases an astounding 26 times more. Another study showed that for every 1000 natural cork stoppers produced, 1.5 kg CO2 are emitted, compared to 14 kg of CO2 for plastic, and 37 kg of CO2 for aluminum screw caps. Who would have thought that opening a bottle of wine could have such an impact on the environment!
It has been determined that the amount of CO2 retained in 15 million natural cork stoppers is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of 45,000 vehicles driving 15,000 kilometers in a year.
APCOR (Portuguese Cork Association) publishes an annual Year Book all about cork and cork studies for the year. Check out their publications here.