Wine Cork Recyclers ReCORK™ Launch Groundbreaking New Material to Functionally Replace Petroleum-Based Foams in Footwear
Vancouver, BC, Jan. 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Natural cork recyclers ReCORK™ are set to revolutionize the footwear industry with the debut of the ReCORK Recycled Cork midsole. This component achieves something never seen before: it offers a functional replacement for petroleum-based foam, while consisting of more than 75% recycled natural cork. The first iteration features in the Jasper Chukka made by ReCORK’s founding company, SOLE.
The footwear industry accounts for 700,000,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per year, making up 1.4% of all global climate impacts. A large portion of this is thanks to carbon-intensive fossil fuel foams in the midsoles of so many sneakers and running shoes.
In contrast, natural cork grows as the bark of cork oak trees, harvested without cutting a tree down. For every kilogram of cork, the tree absorbs 55 kg of CO2. Even when the carbon impacts of transport and processing are accounted for, each pair of ReCORK Recycled Cork midsoles is carbon negative, with a net impact of removing 5.775kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.
In the 15 years since ReCORK was launched by Canadian footwear brand SOLE, it has established an extensive network of partners across North America, working together to collect more than 132 million wine corks for recycling to date. SOLE and ReCORK Founder/CEO, Mike Baker, sees this latest achievement as a watershed moment for sustainable innovation.
“Traditionally, cork in footwear is hard, does not bend or twist, and cracks under strain. Our new cork compound is unlike anything before it: highly flexible, durable, lightweight and cushioning, all while being 75% cork,” says Baker. “It’s taken many years of R&D to get to this point. We’re here to show what’s possible when you invest enough time and resources and you refuse to settle for the conventional modes of production that the footwear industry relies upon. We’re here to create radical change for the better.”
ReCORK™ creates high-performance, carbon-negative composite materials and components using natural recycled cork. ReCORK™ was launched as a natural wine cork recycling program in 2008 by Canadian footwear company SOLE™. It has since become the largest program of its kind in North America, with an R&D team dedicated to innovation around the cork recycling process. ReCORK’s proprietary material, ReCORK™ Recycled Cork, redefines what’s possible using cork, offering a natural, sustainable, versatile alternative to foams and plastics derived from fossil fuels. ReCORK’s mission is to make petroleum-based foams and plastics obsolete. Learn more at recork.com.
- The ReCORK Recycled Cork Midsole debuts in the Jasper Chukka by SOLE
- The ReCORK Recycled Cork midsole redefines what’s possible using natural cork