If you are wine drinker, then you are familiar with cork. Cork stoppers have been used for over 400 years. Many of us are familiar with cork boards for posting our notices and reminder and we may even remember when cork was a popular material that was used in wall coverings during the 70's. But once we’ve exhausted these three uses, we may wonder what else could be made from cork?
The good news is that cork is a great substitute for leather. Yes, that is right. Cork can be made into a pliable, durable material that can be used for purses, bags, wallets, straps and cording. It’s lightweight and durable and very soft to the touch. So, where does cork come from?
Almost every tree has an outer layer of cork bark but it is the Cork Oak that is the major source of all cork. The Cork Oak primarily grows around the Mediterranean Sea, with the largest groves in Portugal. The Cork Oak has a much thicker layer of cork bark. The reason is that the tree evolved to protect itself from the harsh conditions of the forest neat the Mediterranean. Its nature was design to withstand frequent droughts, brush fires and temperature fluctuations. It is unique since cork actually is made from water resistant cells, protecting the interior tree.
So why choose cork over other materials? First and foremost, it is sustainable and Eco-friendly. Cork is harvested every 8-14 years off of living trees. The trees continue to grow and produce cork. There is no need to chop down the trees unlike other wood products. It has less impact on the environment than leather and it is cruelty free. One favorite quality is that it is lightweight because it is buoyant. Being lightweight makes it great for purses, handbags and wallets. You can carry your items with ease and without additional weight. It’s also an amazingly durable material, strong, pliable and soft! Choosing cork is a great way to have the look and feel of leather while preventing harm to animals and reducing impact to the earth.