27 Interesting Cork Facts and Stats

Cork has a long history. Below I list 27 interesting facts and 25 statistics about cork, which will let us know more about cork, an environmentally friendly and innovative material.

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27 Interesting Cork Facts

  1.  The world produces enough cork to run around the world 15 times a year.
  2. A ton of corkboards can produce about 67,000 corks.
  3.  The cork industry began to flourish in northern Portugal in the 18th century, thanks to the port industry. The stoppers are cut by hand and one person can make about three stoppers per minute.
  4.  The largest and oldest cork oak in the world is known as Assobiador (Whistler). The name was inspired by the sound of songbirds falling on the branches of the tree. Planted in 1783, this cork oak is more than 14 meters tall and has a trunk circumference of 4.15 meters.
  5.  In ancient Greece, only priests were allowed to cut down trees that were considered a symbol of freedom and honor.
  6.  The natural cork, considered together with all the cork oak forests that depend on it, retains 112 grams of carbon dioxide per unit.
  7.  At the 2010 NATO Summit, celebrities such as Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton received gifts of cork fashion and accessories. The U.S. president also received a collar for his Portuguese water dog, Bo.
  8.  In 1964, cork was successfully tested in a NASA lathe at speeds of up to 17,900 feet per second.
  9.  Hollywood uses cork to simulate debris from explosions. Cork has been used in Ghostbusters and Mission Impossible movies.
  10.  In 2007, the Portuguese Post Office and the Portuguese Parliament launched the first cork stamp, with 23,000 copies printed.
  11.  In 2011, the Parliament of the Republic declared the cork tree to be the national tree of Portugal.
  12.  The Portuguese cork closes the world’s most expensive whisky, Dalmore Trinitas 64, which sells for 118,000 euros per bottle.
  13.  Cork was used by the Egyptians and Persians in 3000 B.C. for purposes other than stoppers, but it was soon used to seal amphorae or other wine containers.
  14.  Cork was one of the raw materials for ships sailing into uncharted waters, and it was used for military equipment in World War II.
  15.  The floor of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral was made of cork to improve acoustics and eliminate cold.
  16.  In the 17th century, the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon chose cork to seal his famous champagne.
  17.  What is believed to be the world’s oldest drinkable champagne is closed with a cork. Lost in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for over 200 years, it was not discovered until the 21st century and has been perfectly preserved.
  18.  Portugal was a pioneer in legislating for the environmental protection of cork oak forests and is now the leading legislator on the issue.
  19.  Following the invention of the light microscope in 1660, English scientist Robert Hooke was the first to observe the structure of cork and coined the word “cell” which is still used today.
  20.  A cubic centimeter of cork can contain about 40 million cells. A cork can contain about 800 million cells.
  21.  “Plant a cork oak tree for your grandchildren. An old and wise saying emerges because cork oak needs to wait more than 40 years to produce a good quality cork for the production of natural cork stoppers.
  22.  Cork production does not destroy trees. After harvest, the cork oak undergoes a process of self-regeneration not seen in any other species.
  23.  Plastic caps emit 10 times more CO2 than cork… Aluminum caps emit 24 times more CO2 than cork.
  24.  Cork was one of the materials used in the earliest versions of the rescue buoy. the Marine Spencer was a circle of oiled canvas with 800 corks attached to a sturdy rope. The first mention of this buoy appeared in the late 18th century.
  25.  Microwave radiation increased the yield of cork by 40% to 80%. The cork multiplies without losing any of its properties. The work was developed by the University of Higher Agronomic Institute of Lisbon and was shortlisted for the 2013 European Patent Office Inventor of the Year Award in the industrial category.
  26.  Artist Joana Vasconcelos incorporates cork in the transformation of the Trafaria Praia boat presented at the Venice Biennale. The ferry is transformed into a recognizable element of Portuguese culture. Cork stands out as a decorative component in terms of technical performance and aesthetic versatility.
  27.  Between 1894 and 1899, the first Coca-Cola bottle was sealed with a cork
wine cork
cork raw material

25 Interesting cork industry statistics

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  1.  The global cork industry employs approximately 30,000 workers in a variety of jobs, from harvesting to refining. (Cork Quality Council)
  2.  Portugal has approximately 737,000 hectares of forest area, representing more than one-third of the world’s cork oak forest area. From this land, Portugal produces approximately 100,000 tons of cork annually, accounting for half of the world’s cork production. (Cork Quality Council)
  3.  Spain is another of the world’s leading producers of cork products. They produce 62,000 tons of cork annually, which represents 31% of the total production of 574,000 hectares of forest space. (Cork Quality Council)
  4.  72% of all cork revenue generated by the industry comes from wine cork. The total market value is estimated at 644 million euros per year, representing 25% of the total production in Portugal. (Cork Quality Council) #5.
  5.  Cork construction materials account for 25% of the total value of the Portuguese industry, worth €228 million. (Cork Quality Council)
  6.  Only 1% of the cork market is used for raw material exports. (Cork Quality Council)
  7.  The cork industry produces over 13 billion wine corks per year, including corks and champagne corks. (Cork Quality Council)
  8.  The growth of the global wine market is fueling a 7% annual increase in the global cork market. in 2010, the U.S. cork market was worth €64.1 million. in 2015, the value was €103.2 million. (Cork Quality Council)
  9.  The estimated value of each hectare of cork oak forest is €100 per year, directly attributable to environmental services. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  10.  Global cork forests are capable of removing about 14 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  11.  Up to 135 different plant species can be found per square meter in a typical well-managed cork forest. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  12.  80% of the companies involved in the cork industry are located in Portugal. Forty-nine percent of these organizations are dedicated to the production of cork. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  13.  In 2016, 81% of companies active in cork industry operations reported positive net income. The average turnover was only 2.5%. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  14.  In Portugal, on average, more than 40 million cork stoppers are produced every day. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  15.  The Portuguese cork industry has 691 registered patents. This has helped the industry to achieve a 63% share of exports in the cork industry. (Portuguese Cork Association)
  16.  Cork debarking is the highest paid job in agriculture on average. That’s because it requires an extremely high level of expertise to be done correctly. The average salary starts at 45,000 euros per year. (Amorim / Payscale)
  17.  The cork oak is able to regenerate its outer layer about a dozen times during the tree’s entire life. The average lifespan of a tree is about 150 years, but some trees can live up to 350 years or more. This means that a tree can be harvested every 10 years or so after the initial harvest, which can take up to 20 years. (American Cork Institute/Green Building Supply)
  18.  The bark tissue harvested from cork oak trees has a very low density. This is because about 90% of the tissue in the bark is gaseous material. Very dense cork products may only have a density rating of 0.20. (Green Building Supply)
  19.  In 2005, Wine Spectator tested 2,800 bottles of wine for trichloroanisole (TCA), and 7% of them were found to be contaminated. It only takes one bad bottle of wine from a bad cork to damage a winemaker’s reputation. However, since 2001, testing by the Cork Quality Council has shown a 95% reduction in TCA. (Atlantic Organization)
  20.  The main threat to the wine industry, especially for cheaper wines, is the aluminum screw cap. About 20% of table wines sold in the world today have switched from cork to aluminum caps. (Atlantic Organization)
  21.  Plastic caps are also beginning to penetrate the cork market. For wines priced under $10, the cork industry may have lost 40% of the cap market share. (The Atlantic).
  22.  In 2010, 168 bottles of Champagne were located in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. Although Champagne is 170 years old, it is still drinkable because of the quality of the cork. (Atlantic Organization)
  23.  Morocco’s small cork industry provides just 6% of global cork production from 383,000 hectares of cork forests and supports the local economy with over $11 million annually. (Atlantic/Cork Quality Council)
  24.  In total, over 100,000 people are supported directly or indirectly each year as a result of the global cork industry. (The Atlantic)
  25.  Tunisia, France and Italy each account for 3% of the total production of the cork industry. Together they produce 18,000 tons of cork annually. (Cork Quality Council)

We have seen some great advantages of cork, it is 100% sustainable and natural, which makes it an environmentally friendly material and a perfect alternative to leather to make all kinds of accessories made of cork.

As we have told you many times, cork has all the qualities and characteristics that the cork oak forest offers us, and everything we do to build a better world has an added value that money can’t buy.

Based on the many outstanding properties of cork, the cork can be made into cork fabrics, cork sports products, cork bags, etc., which are considered one of the best alternatives to leather.

Choose the right cork products to promote your low carbon sustainable project.

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