NAPA, Calif. - Something fresh is popping up in wine country, a save-the-cork effort that puts a new twist on recycling.
"All of a sudden we found that we had a product that had another life in it," says Roger Archey, program manager of the ReCORK America program that has signed up nearly 200 wineries, restaurants and retailers on the West Coast.
At issue is what happens after a cork is yanked out of a bottle of wine. Turns out corks can be ground up and turned into other products, including flooring and wall coverings.
But it takes a lot of corks to create much of anything useful. About 300,000 corks make up a ton. ReCORK, which is sponsored by Amorim, a Portuguese cork manufacturer.
The group collects natural corks only. The program began as a pilot effort in Oregon about 18 months ago and interest has picked up in recent months, says Archey, who is based north of San Francisco.