In search of the ever-shrinking garbage can, I often set things aside for reuse. Strawberry baskets go back to the farmer. Boxes and packing material are "free-cycled" for Ebayers. Wine bottles find new homes with home brewers. Rubber bands sneak into Whole Foods for reuse. Ribbons go into the ribbon box, wrapping paper into the wrapping paper box, and so on. I also collect a variety of other items, including wine corks, for reuse at my children's schools. With the help of an inventive preschool teacher and two dozen little hands, wine corks can be transformed into reindeer, trees, and frogs. Schools are a wonderful outlet for reuse but, let's be honest, at some point, your child's art work is also likely to be, ummm, "recycled".
Therefore, when a longer term opportunity for reuse comes along, I take it. Enter, wine cork recycling. If I were truly industrious, I'd turn my corks into a baseboard a la Kate continued. Alas, I am not and was therefore delighted to learn of a "sustainable business", Yemm & Hart, which collects post-consumer wine corks - cork only, save the plastic ones for the schools - and reconstructs them into attractive cork flooring. I recently spotted their collection bin at a Napa Valley winery though you can also send the corks in by mail. Indeed, if you register with the company, they'll even pay you or your favorite non-profit for your corks! Now that is a recycling progam we can all drink to.
photo from Yemm & Hart