Recycling glass is a well-known and established practice for many of us. But what about the important bit you need to deal with to get to the unctuousness within the bottles? The answer is a corker!
The cork of course!
A charitable nationwide organisation in France has successfully bitten the bullet by collecting and recycling corks and other bottle stoppers via collection posts and also by volunteers touring the many bars, bistros and restaurants to collect their discarded corks.
France Cancer fundraiser
The association France Cancer was founded in 2003 in Grasse, in the South of France, by local wine producers from Cannes, moved by the sufferings from cancer among some of their clients, producers who had the idea of creating this association. The goal was and is to raise funds for cancer research in France.
The main activity is to raise funds from the recovery of cork stoppers, false corks – so-called synthetic –, as well as champagne stoppers. Added to this are the donations and the proceeds from various events.
In the last five years, about 100 tons, or 25 million corks, has brought in €30,000 to research. Since its creation, France Cancer has donated more than €200,000 to the endeavours of CNRS and INSERM researchers.
Since 2003, the association has grown from 3 to 40 tons collected annually.
A truly social endeavour
My stepson, Marco, who recently left a major French hypermarket chain as a senior wine buyer and is now working for himself at home in Lille, alerted me to this amazing charitable endeavour. He and a few friends do the rounds in Lille once a week, collecting corks and stoppers from as many venues as possible.
“The best part is being able to sit as a group sorting the real corks from the synthetic ones and separating them from screw tops although the French aren’t as keen on these as the Brits. We get to sit together to sort them out and have a good old gossip.
“We get to discover new eateries and ‘caves’ so it’s a potentially interesting ‘pub crawl’ with a real sense of purpose.”
The sorted corks are collected by a France Cancer courier and taken to appropriate recycling centres who pay for the corks and then reproduce them into products such as flooring and insulation.
A virtuous circle, if ever there was one!
Retailers to the rescue!
If the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Waitrose, Morrisons, Lidl, Majestic Wines, and many others could be persuaded to accommodate collection containers, this could be a valuable addition to their used battery recycling bins. This means setting up a registered charity to administer basic affairs and a catchy name! Readers’ ‘brand’ suggestions would be welcome.
In any event, a good excuse to get to know local hostelries with a clear conscience. À vos santés!