7: Put a cork in it!

It’s Friday, the weekend has begun. You might be thinking of opening a bottle of wine to celebrate getting through another week alive or, if  you’re feeling a bit flush, a bottle of something fizzy. Today’s tip for ditching the plastic is extremely simple, but not particularly relevant if you’re teetotal…

The next time you’re selecting a tipple, have a look at what’s keeping that wine in the bottle. If it’s a plastic stopper, perhaps you might want to carry on looking down the aisle until you find a bottle with a cork in it. Or even a metal twist cap would be better than another piece of one-use plastic. At least that’s easier to recycle and will biodegrade more quickly.

Cork is not only biodegradable, it’s beautifully sustainable. It’s made from the stripped bark of the Cork Oak, the trees are unharmed in the process, and the trees will usually continue  producing cork for around 150 years – long after your hangover has gone!

Of course, sometimes you can’t tell if the stopper in the bottle is made of cork or plastic because it has that metal foil over it. If you can’t see what’s keeping the wine in there, don’t be afraid to make a nuisance of yourself. Ask the staff in the shop, restaurant, wine bar, pub if they know what the stopper is made of. If they don’t, ask them why not? And if they won’t/can’t tell you, and you really have to buy that bottle right now, and you get it home and find a naughty piece of plastic in the top, then at least you know not to buy that one again. And it will be fun to keep trying other bottles until you find one with a cork in it, which can then become your new favourite!

Take note: You can’t normally put corks in your regular recycling bin, but they can be put into your compost bin. If you cut them into little pieces, you can mulch them into the soil in your garden. Or why not collect all those corks from all those Fridays that you celebrated surviving another week, make them into a cork memo board and give it to your teetotal friends? After all, they won’t be able to make one for themselves.



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