Cork leather as we know is nurtured from the cork oak tree which is 25 years old. It takes a long time to make the cork leather. With the cork harvesting the first batch is not usable. The second harvest done after 9 years can be used to make products.
Portugal is the biggest producer of cork in the world which amounts to 50% of the world's supply. In the production of cork the trees are not cut down or damaged in any way during the harvesting of the cork. The harvesting of cork involves the shaving off the side of the trees which means that the forests continue to thrive in areas where other economically viable crops cannot. Harvesting is done in the Spring/Summer months.
In Portugal the Portuguese government has taken certain measures to protect the cork trees by making it law not to cut down any cork tree or stripping the bark more than every 9 years thus protecting the life of the cork trees. The lifespan of the trees are roughly 150-200 years... that is a lot of cork produce!!
The cork process is very complex.The bark has to be removed from the tree and has to go through a drying out process which takes roughly 6 months to be totally dry. Once the cork has been satisfactorily dried it is then put through the steam and boiling process to ensure that the material has elasticity. After this process comes the very refined process of cutting up the cork into thin sheets and then placing a support backing to the material so that the material becomes more durable so that it can be used to make fashionable products.
Most of the cork material comes from Portugal which is blessed with sunshine. The Montado region of Portugal produces half of the harvested cork worldwide. The Mediterranean region of Europe is renowned for cork. Portugal and Spain produce more than 80% of the world's cork and also North West Africa.
Cork trees thrive in areas where there is little rain or nutrition. They grow in sandy chalk-free soils with low levels of nitrogen and high levels of potassium. In Portugal alone there are more than 725,00 hectares of cork forest. With regards to the environment 16m tonnes of CO2 saved by the cork forests from being released into the atmosphere which benefits the environment. Cork is environmentally friendly as it is biodegradable and can be recycled without producing any toxic residues.
Cork is used to make many products. Most people associate cork from wine bottles of which is the most popular product but cork can be used to produce Wallets, Handbags, Purses, Masks, Backpacks and even Dog collars!!. Footwear is another sustainable area for cork products. Sandals, Moccasins and even clogs are quite common cork products. In the world of sport we have baseballs and cricket balls which are made from cork.
EILAANE LTD are very proud to work with
AMELIARITA https://eilaaneltd.com/collections/ameliarita &
MODDANIO https://eilaaneltd.com/collections/moddanio who make fantastic products made from cork.
So next time you open that bottle of wine and it has a cork you will be well versed on how it was made and where it comes from!!