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Majestic rolls out UK’s first cork recycling initiative

UK specialist wine retailer Majestic is launching a cork recycling scheme across its store estate – which it claims is a first for the UK – as well as its own Wine Club. 

The retailer is working with the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) in a bid to recycle over 1 million corks per year, which it says amounts to more than 309 tonnes of CO2. The retailer is placing collection hubs in each of its store and will encourage customers to return natural corks, in order that these can be recycled. The corks are being trialled by the Eden Project in Cornwall,  who will use them as a mulch for its Mediterranean plants.

A 2018 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated that corks were the most environmentally friendly form of wine closure, more than 20x more environmentally friendly than screw caps, while Europe’s natural cork oak forests are a haven for biodiversity and sustainable agriculture, capturing over 4.7mt of CO2. However, unlike other countries, the UK does not had a nationwide cork recycling scheme, making Majestic’s scheme the first of its kind.

The retailer is hoping customers and colleagues alike will get behind the campaign. Store teams have been briefed to make sure that only the right kinds of corks (ie natural rather than amalgam_ are being recycled and Majestic are also working with Wine Logistics to sort the corks at its depot before sending to the Eden Project.

Majestic CEO, John Colley, said cork represented “a perfectly circular, environmentally friendly industry” from cork oak to bottle  but that the final link in the circle – what happens after the wine has been drunk – was missing.

“By working with the Cork Association, we’re squaring the circle by giving our customers and stores the opportunity to continue a natural cork’s journey at The Eden Project,” he said. “I’m sure not only will this give our customers another reason to enjoy a great bottle of wine, but also another reason to visit us in-store – with their pockets brimming with corks.”

Carlos de Jesus, APCOR campaign director, said it was an exciting and unique project. Cork is about so much more than simply a closure. It’s a fabulous, natural product which has a story and history all of its own. The fact that we can add another chapter to that story, with hundreds of thousands of corks collected from right across the UK to be used at such an iconic site, is really thrilling.”

The retailer has also recently announced the launch of its first Wine Club subscription service.

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