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Cork Industry Revival in Portugal: A Sustainable Alternative Gains Momentum

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By manpreet maan

Cork Industry Revival in Portugal: A Sustainable Alternative Gains Momentum

In Coruche, Portugal’s “cork capital,” the annual tradition of extracting cork from the cork oak forest is experiencing a revival. This time-honored practice, dating back thousands of years, is gaining renewed attention as industries seek sustainable alternatives to plastic and fossil fuel-derived materials. Cork, known for its durability, waterproof nature, lightness, and flexibility, has found diverse applications in flooring, furniture, shoes, clothes, and insulation for homes and electric cars. Portugal’s cork exports reached a record high of 670 million euros ($728 million) in the first half of 2023.

Beyond its trendy green appeal, cork contributes to job creation, supports biodiversity by providing food and shelter for animals, and serves as a carbon sink. Unlike commercially grown trees, cork oaks are not cut down, ensuring their ability to store carbon dioxide for the entire duration of their long lives, often exceeding 200 years.

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