I read a really interesting article about the benefits and versatility of cork and how it can be used and produced in a sustainable way. It has impermeable. buoyant, elastic, and fire resistant qualities that make it an ideal material to have a look at when thinking about the design of my eco-friendly shoe.
So why is cork becoming a popular material in the design community? Well from a eco-friendly standpoint, cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak Tree. Taking the bark doesn’t harm the tree in anyway, and can be harvested every nine years. So the raw natural product has ecological footprint from its extraction is incredibly low compared to the project of plastic or other synthetic materials. Also when using cork the consumer knows its not a synthetic man made product, but it natural and has been crafted, giving it a more niche feel. Cork can also be used with recycled rubber to create a stronger, more durable composite.
The CorkWay project has a partnership with GreenCork, a non-profit association that has been supporting the Portuguese environment for almost 25 years. They plant a tree for each cork product sold, or for every facebook fan they get. They believe a business should have a large social responsibility within the local community.