As problems arise, humans have a tendency to seek out better solutions as well as change. This can lead to more innovation and progress for a sustainable future. One wonderful, innovative solution for the very unsustainable and highly polluting world of fashion, is the use of cork (yes, the same stuff stopped into your wine bottles) as a leather or faux leather alternative. This post will explain about where it comes from and its many awesome features.
1. Made from tree bark
Cork gets its name from cork oak trees. Surprise! It is harvested from the bark of these trees that often grow in the Mediterranean, particularly in Portugal. (Fun fact: The cork tree is actually the national tree of Portugal!)
2. It’s nature’s leather
Cork leather is often referred to as ‘nature’s leather’. It is not only an alternative for real leather but also for faux leather. This is great news because faux leather contains tonnes of microplastics and tend to wear out very quickly. And since it is 100% natural it is also biodegradable.
3. Totally vegan
No trees were harmed or killed in the making of cork leather. It is also the tree that survives even after the bark is stripped from it. Removing the bark is actually beneficial for the tree as it allows the tree to thrive for hundreds of years to come! Now that’s a win-win right there. For those conscious folks out there who may have issues buying and using leather, this is a fantastic alternative.
Another reason for why cork is so amazing. It’s practically resistant to everything. It is waterproof, fire resistant, dirt repellent, anti-fungal and stain resistant. It is also hypoallergenic, so you could say that it is allergy resistant too.
5. Lightweight, elastic and strong
The material is very lightweight as well as strong and durable, which allows it to hold its shape. It is a very versatile material and great for making bags, shoes, purses, yoga mats, coasters and furniture. You name it.
6. Fewer chemicals
Manufacturing demands little chemicals and dramatically fewer than your usual leather. The cork sheets do go through a lamination process that requires sealants and specialised techniques, but the process is a lot shorter than that of leather. Therefore, it is a lot less harmful to our environment.
7. Easy to clean
Since it is everything-resistant, it is very easy to maintain and to clean. Very practical, right?
8. Made from recycled cork
Some cork materials can be made from recycled cork. So those wine stoppers you usually throw out can actually be upcycled to extend the useful life of this natural, sustainable material. Thereby, minimising our environmental impact. You can find out more about recycling cork at ReCork.
9. It feels amazing
It has a soft feel and a similar texture to leather. It’s quite hard to describe, but let’s say you’d want to put your face against it.
In conclusion, cork is awesome and you should definitely keep your eyes open for more products that are made from cork – the more sustainable and responsible option.