For almost 230 years, one tree has stood in a little Portuguese community. Sobreiro Monumental is the formal name, although locals commonly call it The Whistler. Furthermore, it has given the globe hundreds of pounds of cork since it was planted in the late 1700s.
The Whistler is, as you probably guessed, a cork oak. While it is not the only cork forest in Portugal, which is the world’s largest cork producer, it is the most productive. The 1991 crop yielded enough cork for 100,000 wine stoppers. The Whistler’s resilience, though, is not special. Each and every cork oak tree is robust enough to withstand repeated harvesting without succumbing to the effects. Because of this, cork is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly textiles available.
You may use cork for a variety of things. It’s widely used in the construction sector, as well as in the manufacture of furniture and flooring, and even as an insulator, and of course it’s a wine industry favorite. Yet, cork may also be woven into textiles, making it a greener choice than leather for textile sourcing and clothing. In this article, we’ll learn about the manufacturing process, popular companies’ applications of cork fabric, and the importance of safeguarding cork’s inherent sustainability.
How the fabric is produce
Cork must be picked at the beginning of the manufacturing process. The Cork Institute of America states that the outer bark of the tree is meticulously removed by hand with a cork ax, without the use of any mechanical instruments. Following that, the tree’s bark will begin to regenerate, and it will be possible to reap its benefits once again in the future.
The average cork oak has to mature for around 25 years before it can be harvested, according to the Portuguese Cork Association. After that happens, it will keep producing cork for almost a hundred more years.
Carefully removing the cork from the tree is followed by six months of air drying. Fabric is created by boiling and steaming the raw material, then pressing it into blocks and cutting them into thin sheets. The production of cork leather relies on this method, which doesn’t call for the use of toxic chemicals.
Uses of cork fabric
The fashion industry is progressively substituting cork for leather due to the material’s adaptability and resilience. It’s included in the expanding market for bio-based leather, which also includes products like mushroom leather and pineapple leather.
It’s versatile enough to be utilized for creating anything from sandals and shoes to wallets and purses. Many shoe companies, including Nike and the South African and Spanish brands Reefer and Bull Feet, make shoes composed of cork. Accessories made of cork are widely available from companies like the Cork Company in nearby Brighton.
Is cork fabric sustainable
The use of cork has a low impact on the environment. It requires little natural resources to produce, is easily biodegradable, and can be recycled. Not only is no tree-cutting necessary, but that much has already been confirmed.
In contrast to other wood-based products, trees don’t have to be cut down in order to utilize the bark. This is bad for the environment and the animals living in it because it releases carbon and speeds up global warming. When forests are cut down, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that the trees have stored while they grew is released into the air.
Yet, cork oak’s capacity to store carbon is enhanced by harvesting. CO2 negative suggests that this is because the tree requires more carbon dioxide in order to regrow the cork. One cork forest may sequester as much as 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for every tonne of cork harvested.
Nonetheless, cork cloth does have certain flaws. Conversely, the fashion sector has its flaws. A garment’s sustainability credentials may be diminished even if it is cork based if companies don’t utilize it properly, for example by mixing it with poisonous colors or plastic-derived synthetic backings.
Cork cloth, on the other hand, is undeniably healthier for the environment than its cow-derived counterpart.
The production of leather products is a significant contributor to both deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Global livestock accounts for 14.5% of world emissions, according to the United Nations. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is produced by the burping of many animals, but cows in particular are a prominent emitter of this gas.
Cork, a highly renewable resource, is quickly replacing leather as a popular alternative. Although it’s not as ubiquitous as recycled plastic, it’s popularity is on the rise.
Cork Leather is harvested organically from the bark of oak trees. Due to its renewability, it has emerged as one of the most promising substitutes for traditional leather made from animals. Wallets, shoes, and purses are just some of the consumer goods that benefit from its utilization. Cork is made entirely from natural materials and is mostly manufactured in Europe, primarily in Portugal.
Benefits of using cork
Cork is an excellent material because of its longevity, pliability, and resistance to moisture. An all-natural, durable substance. It’s an extremely adaptable cloth that finds use in several sectors.
It’s no secret that cork is a fantastic material that can be used for anything from flooring to furniture to decorative items around the house. A high-quality material with numerous desirable properties for use in apparel, footwear, and accessories.
With its low weight, long lifespan, and pleasant, tactile quality, cork is an excellent material. It is also recyclable, biodegradable, and made entirely from natural materials.
Cork is gaining in popularity. Brands and designers utilize cork to produce environmentally friendly, ethical, and reasonably priced garments.
The future of the fashion industry is dependent on cork. It’s an effective tool for spreading awareness and fostering support for a local, sustainable economy. The growth of the ethical fashion sector is something that cork can help with.
Yet, there is still a substantial amount of the material accessible. Cork oak woods cover more than 2.1 million hectares in the Western Mediterranean basin and are also found in northern Africa, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It’s one of the most eco-friendly options out now, and the fashion industry is in a great position to drive up demand for it. There’s also the fact that it has a chic appearance.
If you are interested in sustainable fashion styling yet not sure about cork, you can go for other materials. There are various textiles like cotton, silk and pinatex for sustainable approach in industry. You can source fabric to fulfill your requirements. Further, with us wholesale fabric customization is also allowed.