Quercus Suber The Cork Oak.
Stripping The Bark Cork trees are eco-friendly and trees are carefully maintained.
A Cork Tree after harvesting. The useful cork bark grows back, unharmed by the process.
Traditional Techniques. The cork industry provides many skilled jobs.
Trees after harvesting. There are many cork forests, predominantly in Portugal and Spain.
Stripped bark. The processed cork bark is used in a wide variety of products all over the world.
Incredibly versatile. From flooring and insulation products, to industrial expansion joint applications...
Musical Instruments Many musical instruments rely on cork components to give them their distinctive sound.
Sports Equipment Cricket balls, shuttlecocks and many other accessories would not exist without cork.
Spacecraft Heat shielding is a unique blend of cork wood, binder and many tiny silica glass spheres.
Wine Bottle Stoppers Just another of the incredible variety uses of cork.

Welcome to the UK Cork Industry Federation.

This website aims to provide information about the uses and versatility of this unique environmentally friendly material and help people make contact with suppliers of cork and cork products in the UK.

The Cork Industry Federation is an association of companies involved in the importation, manufacture and distribution of cork products in the UK and for export. The Federation seeks to uphold quality standards within the industry and to promote the use of cork in its many different applications.

Feel free to contact the federation with any enquiries - these will be circulated to the relevant members, or contact them directly from the links below.

Cork is a natural and renewable product.

Because of its unique properties: elasticity, lightweight, impermeability, insulation and resistance to vibration, cork has many uses. However, it is the production of stoppers for the wine and spirits trades that provides the main revenue that sustains cork forests in Portugal, Spain and other countries around the Mediterranean.

Cork is one of nature's mysteries: a unique material that renews itself every nine years from the bark of a special oak tree. - extract from an article that appeared in Decanter magazine, May 2001

Cork oaks are not harvested for their bark until they are about 25 years old. After this harvesting takes place every nine years (minimum legal period).

Cork in use today

The first harvest suitable for making into wine stoppers is not obtained until the third stripping i.e. when the tree is at least 40 years old. An average cork oak will live for 160 to 180 years and produce 15 strippings during its productive life.

Perhaps because cork has been used for so many years, we forget the special properties that make this natural product superior to any other material as an effective closure for a bottle of wine. For example, every cubic centimetre of cork contains approximately 40 million cells each of which contains microscopic amounts of air composed of nitrogen and oxygen.

This unique cellular structure allows a natural cork stopper to be compressed on the bottling line and then instantly revert to 85% of its original size to form an airtight seal with the wine bottle. No man-made material or other natural product has this capability.

Unique Characteristics

This unique cellular structure allows a natural cork stopper to be compressed on the bottling line and then instantly revert to 85% of its original size to form an airtight seal with the wine bottle. No man-made material or other natural product has this capability.

Another unique characteristic of cork is that when it is compressed, it does not expand in another direction. This is why a natural cork is easier to remove from a bottle and why it is less likely to leak than plastics in certain conditions.

Cork is a renewable and non-polluting resource produced every 9 years without damaging the cork tree. It is 100% recyclable and requires very low energy consumption since a significant part of the energy needs for production is satisfied using biomass.

Environmental Issues

The Portuguese cork producer Amorim has published a report showing a comparison of the environmental impacts and energy used to produce aluminium, plastic and cork materials and the carbon emissions involved.

Cork oak forests and the natural cork products derived from them are a major carbon sink and have an important role in sustainable development. The crucial role of cork in carbon dioxide retention, preserving biodiversity and combating desertification was highlighted in the report on sustainability, published recently by the company.

In comparison, the mining and extraction of non-renewable resources such as petrochemicals and bauxite (used to produce aluminium) have very significant potentially negative impacts on ecosystems.

our members

The Cork Industry Federation is an association of companies involved in the importation, manufacture and distribution of cork products in the UK and for export.
The Federation seeks to uphold quality standards within the industry and to promote the use of cork in its many different applications