Cork is used for a variety of different things, but the most common is bottle stoppers for wine bottles. Cork is impermeable, which means that liquid cannot pass through it. It is also lightweight, it floats on water and is fire resistant. These features make cork a very useful substance that it is in high demand. About 300,000 tons of cork are produced each year. The largest cork forests are in Portugal and Spain. These two counties alone provide about 72% of the worldwide production of cork. Have you ever wondered where cork comes from and how it is produced? Continue reading to discover the answers.
Where does cork come from?
Cork comes from the cork oak tree that is common in Europe and northern Africa. After the tree is about 25-30 years old it goes through its first harvest. In summer it is harvested by skilled workers who strip the bark (cork) from the truck of the tree with an axe. This does no damage to the tree and this process is repeated every 10-13 years for the life of the tree. This is why cork is considered to be an environmentally friendly product. A normal sized cork oak tree can produce about 40-50 kg of cork in a single harvest, with the largest trees producing over 100kg of cork. The harvested cork can then be used to create many of the products that we are familiar with.
The following is a video of cork being harvested by skilled workers.