10 fun facts about cork

17 Oct 2021

Cork: a buoyant light brown substance obtained from the outer layer of the bark of the cork oak. 

10 fun facts about cork

What is cork? Did you know cork originated from the bark of a tree? Before I learnt all about cork while visiting Portugal, I had no idea where it came from. My children learnt all about cork as part of their little presentation about Portugal to their classmates (before leaving Germany). Since arriving in Portugal, we have been learning some more. We recently visited Planet Cork in World of Wine, Porto and learnt even more about it in this great interactive exhibit. Here are 10 fun facts about cork we learnt together. 

- Portugal produces about half of the world’s cork.

Oak forests in the world | the piri-piri lexicon

- Cork is the bark of a special type of oak. To make it you need to remove the bark, let it dry and boil it several times to remove all impurities.

- It takes about 25 years before a tree can be harvest for the first time.

Age of the cork oak tree | the piri-piri lexicon

- A cork oak needs around 9 years between harvests.

- At 43 years old, a cork oak is considered mature and the cork harvest is of the best quality, at last!

- The first bottles of Coca-Cola were sealed with cork until plastic replaced it in the early 60s.

Cork and Coca-Cola |the piri-piri lexicon

- Cork is of course all about stoppers for bottles. But did you know cork can also be used as a building material, to insulate, for flooring and to make shoes, bags, clothes, light fixtures and a million other things.

Cork bags | the piri-piri lexicon
Bags and purses made out of cork

- 13 billion cork stoppers are produced each year.

- Cork can also be used in vaccines. Compounds are extracted from the waste of the cork industry and it serves to amplify the effect of the vaccine and so our body’s response. It appears to also act as an anti-inflammatory.

A jumper made with cork fibres

- In Hollywood, film productions use cork waste to make the explosions look even more dramatic. Cork is light and safe.

10 fun facts about cork | the piri-piri lexicon

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