Cork

Cork no waste

 

Cork is a no waste material that is obtained from the bark of cork oaks. Cork oaks grow in the southwestern Mediterranean countries of Spain, Portugal, Algeria and Morocco. They are one of 150 endemic tree species.

 

Why we use cork

The purifying agent of Biork™ Mineral Deo is the potassium crystal alum. We want to pass this high-quality natural product on to our customers in an ecologically meaningful form: That is why cork holds and protects the mineral stone. Cork is a renewable raw material. It is easy to recycle and is recommended by nature conservation organisations. Unfortunately, even natural cosmetics manufacturers usually do not pay any attention to recyclable packaging. But with our Biork™ Mineral Deo even the label is made of recycled paper.

 

Climate protector cork

Cork oaks contribute in a highly valuable manner to mitigating climate change. They store up to 30 percent more CO2 than other trees. With an area of around 2.3 million hectares, the Mediterranean cork oak forests absorb around 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year. A cork oak whose bark is harvested regularly binds more than three times as much CO2 as an unused tree.

 

Where does our cork come from?cork production

 

The cork for our Biork™ Mineral Deodorant comes from Portugal. The Portuguese cork oak forests exist for over 1000 years. The country is the largest cork producer. About half of the world’s cork is grown there. The main cultivation area is in the barren region of Alentejo in the south. Cork oaks bind around five percent of the country’s CO2 emissions in Portugal alone.

 

Cork extraction

Cork oaks grow ten to twelve meters high and reach a trunk diameter of up to one meter. An oak must be at least 20 years old to be peeled for the first time. The cork harvesting is done very carefully by hand. The harvest time starts in May and ends in August. The bark is left to dry for one year before it is processed any further. The bark then grows back on the tree within nine to eleven years. A used tree can live for 200 years, during which time it delivers up to 200 kilograms of cork.

 

Endangered cork oak forests

Two developments threaten the cultural landscape of the cork oak forests.

First of all, there is a new trend to replace natural corks on (e.g. wine) bottles with other closures. Declining sales endangers the conservation of sustainably managed cork oak forests and thus, the great biodiversity of these cultivated landscapes.

There is also the danger of forest fires. For this purpose, regular harvesting of the cork oaks promotes a certain resistance to fire. A forest fire can destroy decades of management and efforts in just a few minutes. Only fire-fighting aircraft and helicopters can prevent the worst in an emergency.

The consequences of forest fires are dramatic for the cultural landscape. The cork oak biotopes are among the biologically richest in the world and have one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world among the forest habitats. They form retreats for some highly endangered species such as the Iberian lynx, the Spanish Imperial Eagle or the black vulture.

By using cork, EnergyBalance™ wants to contribute to the conservation of these ecosystems.

 

Protection of cork

Cork oak forests are listed in the Natura 2000 network in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive. The WWF also protects cork forests with a specially developed programme and recommends the purchase of wines with a genuine European cork.

(Source: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cork_oak/)

 

Cork recycling – no waste material

That is why we use cork as a protective cover for our Biork™. Used cork is an excellent raw material to produce insulating materials or floor coverings. So, it makes a lot of sense to collect the cover of our deodorant together with bottle corks. Cork can be disposed of in all public recycling centres. This makes it a true no waste material.