What is cork?
Cork is a 100% natural plant tissue, from the bark of the cork tree (Quercus Suber L). The tree can live up to 200 years, during which time it may be harvested 15 to 18 times.
The process of natural cork extraction is called harvesting, a highly specialized process that does not harm the tree. The cork tree is the only oak species whose bark regenerates itself after each harvest.
The bark consists of a honeycomb of microscopic cells filled with an air-like gas and coated mainly with suberin and lignin.
Other compounds are identified in its chemical composition, although in less quantity, such as polysaccharides, ceroids and tannins.
A single cubic centimetre of cork contains almost 40 million cells – around 800 million in a single natural cork stopper.
UNIQUE NATURAL PROPERTIES
Cork is an ecological and sustainable material 100% natural, renewable,
recyclable and reusable.
- Acoustic insulator
- Thermal effective
- Impermeable to liquids and gases
- Elastic and compressible
- Very light
- High temperature resistant
- Fire retardant
- Shock absorbent
- Soft touch
- Warm feeling
THE MOST ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY MATERIAL
Trees may be harvested in cycles of 9 years after the tree’s maturity (25 years). The cork is harvested by specialized professionals, always between May and August, when the tree is at its most active phase of growth and it is easier to strip without damaging the trunk. The cork oak is the only tree whose bark regenerates, acquiring a smoother texture following each harvest. Over the course of its lifetime, which on average lasts 200 years, it may be stripped around 17 times.
These trees are mainly found in Mediterranean regions such as Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Algeria and, most particularly, in Portugal. With 2.7-million hectares of cork-oak forests worldwide, the cork-oak tree provides a vital habitat for a range of flora and fauna, and accounts for the region’s rich biodiversity, apart from retaining millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually, making them crucial in the fight against global warming.
Cork trees do not require the use of irrigation, chemical herbicides or fertilizers.