Cork oak trees
- cork oak forests (Montados) cover the surface of almost 2.2 million hectares in the West Mediterranean basin
- an estimated 14 million tons of CO2 is retained annually by cork oak trees
- cork oak trees age to between 300 and 500 years
- the Cork oak tree must be about 40–45 years old before it’s bark can be used for cork leather production and the bark is then only removed every 9 to 12 years
Properties of cork include: light, elastic and compressible, impermeable to liquids and gases, thermal and acoustic insulator, fire redundant, highly abrasion resistant, and hypoallergenic.
How cork leather is manufactured
Once the cork bark arrives in the factory, it is boiled in water to make the cork cells expand and make it easier to work with. There are no harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde used in this process.
Then, it is shaved down into very thin sheets -- about the same thickness as tissue paper. To make the cork durable, the sheets are then glued to a 15,5% PES / 29,5% COT / 55% PU (textile) backing.
And while cork is naturally water- and dust-resistant, a coating of sealant (non-toxic, non-environmentally-harming) is applied to the cork in the final step of production to keep it from getting dirty.
Cork leather is naturally water-resistant, so most likely you will not have to clean the cork bag very often. However, in the event you have to do it use a soft wash cloth and warm water and just wipe it down. If you need a bit more cleaning, add a drop of moisture free dish detergent. After a gentle rinse, air dry the cork bag and you should be good to go. You will see that cork bags are much more robust and easier to maintain than other materials.