pile of wooden stoppers with inscription

“Are wine corks recyclable?” you ask yourself after you’ve had 3 or 4 glasses of wine and make a mental note to check in the morning. Or maybe you drank the whole bottle? Or maybe that was just me?

I have meant to write a post on this subject for well over a year now and I finally remembered to do it after drinking some (a bottle) of wine over the weekend. So, yes, you can recycle wine corks, but no, you cannot recycle them in your neighborhood recycling bin. I actually found a few places where you can recycle them, which is so great. Check out this numbered list of the many ways you can dispose of your corks.

And did you know that harvesting cork is kind of like shearing sheep? Apparently, cork is made out of shaved bark from cork oak trees and is harvested every 9 years, and the trees can live for up to 300 years. I really like that little factoid.

  1. Put natural corks in your compost bin. If you’re doing the compost thing, you can put them in there and they’ll break down over time.
  2. CFCA Drop-off boxes. The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has drop-boxes at many locations, including Whole Foods.
  3. Aluminum corks cannot be recycled. They’re too small for the machinery and they’ll clog it up.
  4. Plastic corks cannot be recycled. They’re also too small for the machinery and they’ll clog it up.
  5. Check out this interactive map for ReCork recycling drop-off locations near you.

As far as DON’Ts, Don’t recycle plastic or aluminum corks as noted above, and do not reuse corks in different bottles. You’ll get bacterial growth and you can get very sick.

So, you may or may not be able to tell by the tone of this website that I’m not a crafty person, but I want to give all of you wonderfully crafty and artistic individuals a resource for all the DIY cork projects, so I found this blog article on Winc about it. And I have used Winc (big fan) but they didn’t pay me for the mention.

And if you think about it, drinking wine with real corks helps people keep their livelihoods, and glass bottles are recyclable, so I think the moral of this story is Drink More Wine. And for those of you who do not drink alcohol, I found this list of non-alcoholic wines if you care to peruse it.

So, that’s how you can recycle wine corks. Did I miss anything? If so, tell all of us about it in the comments!


Are Wine Corks Recyclable?


Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!