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Amorim Cork group: recycling, reusing and reinventing the use of cork

Cork

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
Portugal
City: 
Mozelos

Language for original content:

Submitted by: 
Technopolis
Ongoing: 
Yes
Description: 

The Amorim Group is among the cork industry’s world leaders. It has a business unit focused on recycling, reusing and reinventing the use of cork - alone or mixed with other raw materials - in the manufacture of new products and applications (construction, footwear, aerospace, railways, etc.).

In this context, Amorim has developed a technique for extending the lifecycle of cork stoppers. This is particularly relevant given that cork is a material of biological origin, non-toxic and with properties that give it multiple applications in a range of fields.

Cork stoppers are ecological by nature - a 100% natural, biodegradable product - but their positive environmental impact can be further enhanced through recycling. At Amorim’s cork recycling unit, used cork stoppers are treated and ground into granules, beginning a new cycle as a raw material. This recycled cork has a multitude of uses, from coverings to insulation, from sport surfaces to tennis balls, and from shoes to aircraft components.

Main activity field:

Main results: 
  • Development of a practice to guarantee the reuse of the by-products of the industrial process, thus guaranteeing that nothing is lost.
  • Only 30% of cork meets the quality standards to manufacture natural cork stoppers, but the remaining part is not wasted. It is ground and transformed into granules, then returned to the production process to make artificial stoppers, expanded cork or composite cork.
  • The production waste is turned into biomass - cork dust - a CO2-neutral source of energy, accounting for 60% of the production plant's energy needs.