CORK - natural, renewable, recyclable, waterproof and easily bio-degradable ...
yes everything is biodegradable (even our current bugbear plastic) but how long does it take and does it leach chemicals back into the environment? Cork has excellent properties in regards to this - it is safe to return to the earth and quickly rots down in the right environment. It can even be chucked onto your compost heap.
Cork comes from the bark of cork trees and is harvested every 9 -12 years. This actually aids the health of the tree as well as producing an amazingly versatile material that can be used by cutting directly into the bark to create the desired forms, through to the waste granules then being compressed into various shapes - from coasters to furniture. Any residual cork powder is then burnt to create energy to help power the cork factories.
Glues can be used to bind the particles of cork, but the most eco-friendly method is heating the cork under immense pressure to release its natural resins, and thereby its own glue, holding each teeny granule in place.
Here at LLL we use cork balls and beads composed of thick chunks of bark as these have the amazing textures and patterns of the bark in them. They are also warm to touch and are very satisfying to handle. We use a cork fabric to create our necklace cords as well - this is made up if fine sheets of cork bark patch-worked together.
The one less favourable issue of using cork in eco terms at LLL, is that it is not a local material and is bought in direct from Portugal hence creating a travel carbon footprint. As we are not using the cork raw also there is no true knowledge of its production footprint. We are researching further as to how ease these issues here in the LLL studio.
For more information and images from YouTube click here