A Re-Cork C'ville collection box for corks.

Flooring retailer Carpet Plus has launched Re-Cork C’Ville, the only official cork recycling program in the Charlottesville, Va., area. The program urges local vineyards, restaurants and wine shops to display a custom-made box in their establishments, with the objective of collecting corks. The boxes are emptied periodically and the corks are sent to a facility to be recycled.

“Considering the large presence of both wine and sustainability in the area, I’m shocked that a cork recycling program hasn’t been established until now,” said Liz Eure, director of marketing for Carpet Plus. “We figured that we had the resources within the company to start such a program, so why not do it ourselves?”  

The project began after Carpet Plus learned that of the almost 15 billion wine corks sold into the world market each year, the majority end up in landfills. In addition to its use in flooring, cork can be recycled into building insulation, soil conditioner, automotive gaskets, shoe soles and sports equipment.

“We want people to know that even if they drink a bottle per week or per month, as long as their natural corks aren’t going in the trash, they’re making a difference. We’re making it easy for people to do their part in helping the environment,” noted Duane Cassis, owner of Carpet Plus.

Participants in the program include Foods of All Nations, Kluge Winery and Market Street Wine Shop. A full list of collection locations can be found atwww.carpetplusonline.com/recork.