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What the Cork?- what to do with all those leftover corks from Christmas

Stephanie Cvetkovic - uses for cork

Today, blogger Stephanie from Expert Home Tips, is here to share with us some truly amazing uses for wine corks. Prepare to fall in love with wine all over again!


If you love wine, then great news - you’ve come to the right place! Today we’re going to celebrate an often forgotten element of wine – the cork.

There is much more to this little object that meets the eye, and cork can be used for a range of wonderful things. If you’re a wine-lover like me, I’m sure you’re going to love some of the ideas I have to share.

What is cork? A brief history

Cork is a natural product, harvested from the Cork Oak Tree. A Cork Oak Tree has a lifespan of between 150-250 years, and although this sounds a lot, the amount of cork obtained is severely limited by several factors.

Cork Oak trees must reach 25 years old and have a circumference of 800mm before they can be harvested. Additionally, they are, by law, only allowed to be stripped of their bark once every 9-12 years and the bark from the first and second harvests isn’t smooth enough for use in the production of wine corks.

All of this limits the amount of cork obtained from each tree.

While wine corks may have become an everyday item to many of us, the harvesting process is a timely thing – even more reason to cherish every one you uncork.

How to dispose of wine corks:


There are several options available for quick and environmentally-friendly disposal of wine corks.

The simplest way, is to throw them into your home compost bin. As corks have the beauty of being 100% natural, they will eventually break down along with all the rest of your tea bags, fruit peels and vegetable stalks.

If you don’t have a home compost bin, don’t fret as there are plenty of other options available to you.


Recorked UK is the leading natural wine cork recycling program. They are an extremely innovative business, that not only aims to solve the problem of wine cork-recycling, but also be as charitable as possible.

Recorked UK collect corks via donations from the public, then sell them on, giving a percentage of each sale to nominated charities. Additionally, they support various schools and charities by providing them with free corks for use in craft projects – we’ll talk more about how you too can get crafty with corks later on.

There are many Recorked Collection Points in pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, wine merchants and vineyards across the UK. You can find your nearest on the Recorked Collection Partners map.

If you don’t have a home compost bin and there isn’t a Recorked Collection Point near you, there’s still no reason to fret – I have even more corkingly good ideas up my sleeve.

Great ways to use wine corks around the home:

  1. DIY Fire Starters

Now here’s a really great way to use up all those red wine corks during chilly Winter months – homemade Fire starters. Thanks to their combustible nature, corks can be turned into fire Starters in just a few steps.

All you need to make yours are:

  • Wine corks
  • A mason jar
  • 90% rubbing alcohol.

Place the corks in the jar, and top with rubbing alcohol. Be sure to leave a 2-inch gap from the top, as the corks will swell when absorbing the liquid. For best results, store them for a week before igniting.

  1. Painting for kids

Wine may be off the menu for the little ones, but wine corks certainly aren’t. The circular ends are great for creating pretty painted patterns. Best of all, they don’t flick paint around like paintbrushes do, so you’ll also profit from less post-craft clean-up.

  1. Candle holder

Wine corks go great with cosy and rustic home interiors. There lots of beautiful ways to use them, but one of the simplest is to adorn a candle holder.

All you need is a candle, large, cylindrical vase and plenty of wine corks. Fill the vase with corks until the distance from the corks and the top of the vase matches the height of your candle. Place the candle inside, then fill the remaining space with wine corks to keep it firmly in place.

  1. Plant compost

If you’re green fingered, why not use leftover wine corks to fill-out your existing compost? The preferred method starts by putting corks through a shredder begin with, but if you don’t have access to fancy equipment, chopping them with a sharp knife will do.

Head over to our blog for more creative ways to use your old wine corks. Happy Drinking!

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