eco ramblings

a dialogue with an Eco Patriot

Cork Recycling. Interesting Thought, But Would You Do It?

Posted by Luke on April 6, 2010

Whole Foods just announced a program to recycle wine corks in all 292 of its stores.  I like the concept of producer responsibility when manufacturers take action to collect and recycle their products after use.  I’m not sure what to think of this program though.  Are people really going to bring their corks back into a store to be recycled? 

I can’t remember the last time I had a cork that wasn’t made out of synthetic materials.  Maybe I need to drink more expensive wine.

And when I finish a bottle of wine, I don’t know if I’m thinking straight enough to remember to recycle the little cork.  Maybe I need to drink wine more often. 

Here’s my tip for the company implementing this cork recycling program… 

1)  Establish partnerships with wineries who use your corks.  Market the cork recycling program and see if you can get a winery to talk about the program on the wine bottle for consumer education.  Also have the winery’s sales force use the cork recycling program as a differentiator when selling to restaurants, distributors, and liquor stores.

2)  Establish partnerships with local restaurants near your cork recycling facility (I didn’t know those exist, but I’d love to tour one).  Since restaurants theoretically go through a much higher volume of corks than an individual drinker, setup a closed loop recycling program with those restaurants.  They can promote the program with their patrons and you have reduced shipping costs for getting the recovered corks to your recycling facility.  Then, when the program proves successful, roll it out to more restaurants in more regions.  Setting up a global recycling program with Whole Foods from the start is ambitious. 

If I can think straight next time I finish a bottle of wine, I’ll try to remember to bring the sole cork into the store.


One Response to “Cork Recycling. Interesting Thought, But Would You Do It?”

  1. Heather said

    I think this program is a great idea- I hold on to wine corks with the grand idea that I’ll use them to make coasters or some other home accessory. This is yet to happen so at least I know my collections won’t go to waste, literally.

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