Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber L), a very unique tree with a long life time and an enormous capacity for regeneration. When the Cork Oak has reached 20 years of age, the bark is stripped from the tree by the hands of a highly skilled harvester. That tree is then marked so that it will not be harvested for another 8-10 years.
The Cork Oak is the only tree that benefits from the removal of its bark and, since it regenerates, it is truly an eco-conscious and sustainable natural resource. In fact, the same tree can be harvested every 8-10 years for over 200 years! An important and surprising fact is that the cork oak increases its ability to absorb CO2 during the natural regeneration process following stripping – a stripped cork tree absorbs, on average, five times more CO2. It is estimated that every year cork oak forests retain up to 14 million tonnes of CO2, a size-able contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate changes.
Portugal (where we get our cork from) is the largest producer of cork, being responsible for around 50% of the world’s cork production. Here, the cork oak is the National Tree and occupies 22,5% of the national forest area.
Once the cork is harvested from the Cork Oak it is boiled, dried, shaved into thin sheets and sealed with a non-toxic sealant. Once the cork fabric is complete, it is stain-resistant, water-resistant, scratch-proof, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, lightweight, incredibly soft, and is also resistant to abrasion, fire, and water.