Written by: Jeff Slater, Director of Global Marketing at Nomacorc 

As Earth Day approaches this Sunday, you may have noticed more advertisements, magazine articles, or newscasts that talk about the latest and greatest ways to “go green”. But what happens when April 22nd passes and we start going back towards our less-than-eco-friendly ways? One way to continue sustainability efforts throughout the year is recycling wine corks.

Many wine consumers toss their empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay into the recycling bin with other glass or plastic items. But what to do with the cork? If you aren’t collecting them for your next Pinterest art project, you might end up throwing the cork into the trash because you are unsure if it is recyclable or not.

Fact: Nomacorc’s synthetic, or plastic, closures are 100% recyclable. Nomacorc closures carry a Recycle Identification Code (RIC) #4 and can be recycled along with other plastic materials through already established recycling streams in much of the world.However, just because we are fully recyclable doesn’t mean that our corks are getting recycled at the rates that we’d like to see.


At Nomacorc, we saw the need to create a supplemental recycling and awareness program for wine closures, both traditional and synthetic. Our goal was to make sure that closures have a second life and don’t end up in landfills. Through our partnership with TerraCycle, we have established drop-off locations at Spec’s Wine & Spirits retail stores and are currently working with other retailers across the country to expand our reach with TerraCycle. In addition, TerraCycle has more than 1,000 “brigades” across the United States that collect post-use wine corks. Closures collected by TerraCycle are then collected and upcycled into unique consumer products.

Cork Recycling

So next time you finish your favorite bottle of wine, remember to recycle your closure. Throw it in your recycle bin, or use an old grocery bag or container to collect your used wine corks and drop them off at your nearest TerraCycle collection station on your next wine trip. Cheers and happy Earth Day!

To learn more about Nomacorc’s sustainability efforts listen to our podcast with TerraCycle or check out our website and learn about Nomacorc’s sustainability achievements.


2 thoughts on “Beyond the Bottle: Reducing your Footprint through Cork Recycling

  1. It is so good to hear directly from Nomacorc. It gives me hope that the Cork will not dissolve as Kashi’s was just announced yesterday! Any chance of breathing new life into the Cork Brigade at TerraCycle and reinstitution of the 2 cents each for every cork sent in? I’ve asked TerraCycle this question many times, even with the twist that we could get paid 1 cent each, half a cent, 10% of a cent, or what ever fraction you all see as necessary and economically sustainable! I have a friend in the Wine Industry and I just met another person there as well. I’ve told them about the Cork Brigade and that it may need some more sponsorship to keep it viable. What do you all think?

  2. Just because it’s recyclable doesn’t mean MRF employees will pull it out as recycling. Minimum-wage recycling sorters aren’t going to inspect each and every cork for that #4 symbol, most tossed in your recyclables will end up in the trash with the other wine corks. Sending it to TerraCycle is the only way to ensure it won’t end up in the trash dumpster at the MRF.

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