By Sheila Shaigany, Planet Green
Contrary to popular opinion, cork is not endangered. In fact, it’s renewable and helps the environment by encouraging vegetation. It’s just being produced less because there’s less of a demand from the wine industry, who’s turning more and more towards using plastic and metal caps.
So how can we keep cork alive? Consume copious amounts of corked wine, of course! And after you’ve finished that bottle you can do a lot with cork!
For other eco-friendly drinking tips click here.
1. Cork’s rough texture makes it a great stopper. Cut your bottle cork into ¼ inch slices or “discs.” Then just glue it onto the bottom surface of large pottery, furniture, or any other slippery object that resides on the ground. It’ll make for a scratch-free floor. You can also glue these discs onto the bottom of potted plants and prevent moisture damage.
2. Since cork’s heat resistant, why not make a trivet? Cork trivets can be really easy to make, especially if you don’t feel like slicing or dicing. Just remove the wooden frame from one of your old picture frames, and glue it onto a piece of cardboard (or even the back of a notebook). Then glue the corks onto the cardboard, using whatever pattern you like. Presto!
3. There are tons of ways to create cork jewelry. If you’re pressed for time, you can make a simple bracelet by stringing cork together with colorful beads-with just a needle and fishing line. Plus, a little piece of cork makes a perfect backing for earrings. I guarantee that you’ll never lose an earring again!
4. If you don’t have the patience for glue guns or fishing line, just recycle your cork. Natural cork is biodegradable and renewable. ReCork America has teamed up with the world’s largest cork producers, Amorim & Irmãos of Portugal, to make recycling easy for you! In addition to participating restaurants and wineries, you can drop off your corks at one of their many nationwide collection locations.
5. Another option is to make cork handles. Since it’s heat resistant, you can use a wine cork as an insulated handle for your pots and pans. Just glue it on! Or you can make handles for your cabinet doors and drawers. To make it extra funky, paint the cork a bright color before gluing it on.
Next Page: 5 More Amazing Ways to Reuse Cork.
6. Create beautiful house decorations with recycled cork. If you’re in need of some curtains, string together 5-10 long lines of cork, and hang them vertically from the ceiling/wall. You’ll have yourself a nifty little “bead” curtain.
Corks can also come in real handy during the holidays. You can string along dyed cork to make awesome Christmas tree decorations—make it extra festive by putting a piece of colored popcorn in between. If you’ve got a lot of cork to spare, you can even make a wreath.
7. Another great characteristic of cork is that it floats. You can make a pretty floating votive candle holder out of cork. Just glue a few pieces of cork in the shape of a circle, with enough space for your candle to fit inside.
8. There’s always water toys. The kids would love a swimming pool noodle or raft made of cork. But it’s not just for children. These guys even made an entire boat out of cork, and sailed it down a river in Portugal!
9. Recycled cork is great for knives and razors. If you have high carbon knives in the kitchen, using cork is one of the best ways to clean them. If not, your knives will change color very quickly, so just sprinkle some Comet onto the edge of your knives and scrub them with a cork. You can also use cork as a stopper for your knives so that the blade doesn’t dull as quickly.
Cork will also sharpen a dull blade. Run an old razor through cork a few times, and you’ll get a few more uses out of it.
10. For the thrifty and eco-friendly party host, corks make awesome place card holders. It’s so easy it’s not even funny. With a razor, cut a cork in half and slit a line across the rounded top of each half. Then just slide each name tag into the slits. I told you it was easy!
11. And finally: you can always make a good old-fashioned cork board. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!