Cork Grows Dollars Through Variety of Products

Staten Island commercial bank regards the commodity's versatility


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Most folks think of cork as a stopper for a wine bottle, but its applications extend over a much broader range.


Victory State Bank, Staten Island's only community-based business bank, observes that many businesses use cork in a variety of ways.

For example, although stoppers account for about 60 percent of cork production, Wikipedia notes that its elasticity combined with its near-impermeability makes it suitable for a host of other uses.

Cork is also an essential element in badminton shuttlecocks. And its bubble-form structure and natural fire retardant quality make it suitable for acoustic and thermal insulation in residential walls, floors, ceilings and facades.

Moreover, corkboard is gaining popularity as a non-allergenic, easy-to-handle and safe component in insulation products.

Sheets of cork, also often the by-product of stopper production, are used to make bulletin boards as well as floor and wall tiles,

Cork's low density makes it suitable for fishing floats and buoys as well as handles for fishing rods.

Granules of cork can also be mixed into concrete. The composites made by mixing cork granules and cement, Wikipedia notes have lower thermal conductivity, lower density and good energy absorption.

The website lists numerous uses for wine corks. Among them are stops to save unfinished work on knitting needles; cat toys; plugs for bicycle handlebars; heat-resistant tops for cooking lids; holders for sharp objects like pins, fish hooks and earrings; key floats; plant mulch after being put in a blender; place card holders after being slit on one end; cork art and sculpture; trivets; stamp-pad stamps with designs carved onto an end, and even fire-starters enhanced with rubbing alcohol.

While it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to ensure that there is no shortage of cork is to use more cork, an advocate asserts.

That is because the greater the demand for cork, the greater the economic incentive to protect the cork oak forests for future generations.

The 6.6 million acres of cork oak forests in the Mediterranean Basin not only serve as a refuge for endangered species, they also help reduce greenhouse emissions. It seems like a small thing, the contention stresses, but every cork stopper represents a carbon offset of 113.5 grams. Looked at differently, the 6.6 million acres of Mediterranean cork oaks capture approximately 14.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Not only do cork oak forests provide a significant carbon offset, but cork stoppers are 100 percent natural and recyclable; they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

“We have recycled more than 47 million cork stoppers and have planted more than 8,000 cork oaks,” says Matt Hughes in a statement.

The brand manager at ReCORK, which describes itself as North America’s largest cork recycling initiative adds, “Our recycled corks are used to replace petroleum-based materials in consumer products and to extend the useful life of wine corks.”

Contrary to popular opinion, cork oaks are never harmed or cut down during the harvesting process. Highly skilled professionals use axes to safely and carefully strip the bark. On average, 90 to 130 pounds of bark are harvested from each cork oak. Each tree can produce enough cork for 4,000 to 6,000 stoppers, ReCORK asserts.

In recent years, fashion designers and shoe manufacturers such as Stella McCartney and SOLE have been using cork to create their signature footwear.

A statement attributed to Mike Baker, founder and CEO of SOLE, says “The transformation of used wine corks into durable and attractive footwear is an elegant way to extend the lifecycle of this remarkable material while providing consumers with a terrific new product that literally lightens their carbon footprint.”



About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office is in the community of Great Kills, and branches are in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at

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