Quick Recycling Tip: How to Recycle Plastic Wine Corks

In Recycling by Matty Byloos2 Comments

This post is part of an attempt to do something like 100 recycling tips for damn near anything in something close to, anyway, 100 days. We’ll see how that goes. When the 100 Recycling Tips are all published here on Easy Ways to Go Green, we’ll do a master list so that every link exists on one single page for everyone to be able to link over to, or to use as a reference guide when questions on how to recycle different things in your life inevitably come up.

How to Recycle 100 Common Things: #14 Recycling Plastic Wine Corks

How to Recycle Plastic Wine Corks

How to Recycle Plastic Wine Corks

Many of us love to drink wine. Even if you only like to drink it a little bit, you may have an empty bottle, and therefore a spent plastic wine cork, lying around the kitchen somewhere. As wine bottlers begin to make the comprehensive switch over from cork to plastic wine plugs (there are about 9% of wine bottles being produced with the synthetic corks today in the world), we ask — are these plastic wine corks recyclable?

The secret, as with recycling plastic of any kind, is that most plastic containers will have the number type of plastic it is made of stamped on the bottom of the container itself. The new-style synthetic wine corks do not in most cases. But even without the recycling symbols, arrows, or plastic number, PLASTIC CORKS ARE RECYCLABLE so throw them into the recycling bin!

Remember that while traditional wine corks may be thrown into the compost pile successfully, synthetic corks cannot.

Helpful Links on Recycling Plastic Wine Corks:

Search by “Plastic Wine Corks” and “Your City Name or Zip Code” at Earth 911 and find the closest recycling center near you.

Check out Treehugger for an interesting bit of history on Plastic Wine Corks versus traditional cork.

Professor’s House offers some answers on how to recycle Plastic Wine Corks.

An article on Recycle This UK talks about some clever ways to get a second use out of Plastic Wine Corks.

Jennifer Grayson Eco Etiquette offers instructions on how to recycle Plastic Wine Corks here.


  1. I would be careful about throwing plastic corks into recycling bins without checking with local recyclers first. Depending on local markets for recyclable materials, they might just screen out the corks along with other nonrecyclable materials that end up in the bins, and pitch them into a landfill.

  2. Investigation of the web links on this page and other websites show that plastic corks are not really recyclable, only reusable. Real corks are compostable, recyclable and made from a sustainable resource. Most would probably agree that the world doesn’t really need another piece (or 10,000,000) of plastic in the ecosystem.

    I agree with the other post that advises checking with your local recycler before putting these in your bin. I’ve been to the recycle processing plant in my city and am pretty sure they would be screened out due to their size. The plastic corks probably need to be given to a recycler not mixed with other recyclables, if someone finds a company doing it.

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