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Study of the potential of the circular economy of the cork sector

The Institut Català del Suro Foundation heads a new project called "Study of the potential of the circular economy of the cork sector" whose objective is to increase the competitiveness of the cork sector through the application of thecircular economy in its production process. 

Cork is a material with a combination of properties that make it unique, versatile and suitable for a multitude of applications for many sectors; these new business niches will favor the diversification of the Catalan rubber sector, exclusively focused on the wine cork.

At the same time, the study seeks to reinforce the example of circularity of the cork sector by other Catalan sectors through communication actions outside the cork sector itself.

The antecedents

In recent years it has been observed a abandonment of Catalan corks and a drop in production per hectare that is explained by the decrease in the commercial value of this material, mainly due to the presence of certain pests and diseases that do not make it suitable for covering.

The project aims to contribute to an increase in socio-economic activity linked to the cork sector and to the correct management of Catalan corks from the endowment of greater possibilities of profitability of the by-products, such as Pilgrimage or first extraction cork, of the and waste from the cork sector which are generated, for example, from the manufacture of caps and which do not have a commercial outlet.

Sustainability paradigm 

This project seeks to position the cork industry as a paradigm of sustainability, not only because of its negative carbon footprint, but because the increase in the added value of the entire cork value chain and the utilization of waste and by-products of the cork industry will allow new forest masses to be put into production, which helps reduce the risk of fires, combat climate change, fix carbon and consolidate jobs in rural areas. 

the project

The study will last two years and is promoted thanks to the "Grants for circular economy promotion projects 2020" from the Catalan Waste Agency.

The start of the project coincides with the approval of theBioeconomy strategy of Catalonia 2030, which will serve to promote the growth and sustainable development of the Catalan economy and encourage the production of biological, local and renewable resources.