Plastic Corks: Too Small to Recycle
Many synthetic corks are made out of plastic #7, but unfortunately are too small to be recovered by sorting equipment, so they go in the trash.
Composting Natural Corks
You can compost natural corks, but they will take a long time to break down unless you break them up into small pieces first, or even better, run them through a blender.
Alternative Ways to Recycle
The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance collects and recycles natural corks in dropboxes in many Whole Foods stores, as well as other retailers. Find a dropbox here.
ReCORK Recycling Program
ReCORK collects natural corks so they can be reused in packaging and products such as cork shoes. If you have 15 lbs of cork or more, mail them in with a free shipping label. Or find a nearby dropbox.
CorkClub is a sustainability initiative funded by WidgetCo, a leader in wine cork recycling and upcycling. Mail in both natural and synthetic wine corks in shipments of 5 lbs (or 500 wine corks, or 800 cubic inches). For each natural wine cork received, WidgetCo donates to forest and ocean conservation non-profits, and synthetic wine corks are recycled.
Ways to Reuse
Hydrate Your Plants
Break up a wine cork and add the pieces to the soil of your potted plants to reduce the rate of water evaporation during hot summer days.