Here at Bali Mats, we consider Cork to be a gift given to us from nature. This renewable resource is given to us from the bark of Cork Oak Trees, usually cracked off the base of the tree. This natural bark-like piece of the tree can only be harvested in the two summer months of June and July throughout Mediterranean regions. While it takes 9 years to fully grow back, these Cork Oak Trees live to be anywhere between 150-250 years old allowing them to be harvested once a decade while still thriving. In fact, this sacred harvesting technique has been used for thousands of years as it has been proved that it does not harm the tree whatsoever. Cork is truly a magical yet sustainable material resource.
Since the bark is harvested from the Oak Tree rather than being cut down, the tree is able to continue it's lifespan even after the harvest season. When the tree is without bark, it is able to act as a sponge pulling out CO2 from the atmosphere and producing more oxygen.
Every piece of the cork harvested can be used. When making a mat, shaping the cork into a square creates a lot of cork dust which is vacuumed up and can be burned as biomass electricity to power different factories and even homes. It comes straight from nature so it is obviously biodegradable.
Cork has seen unprecedented popularity these past three years as it becomes a go-to for yogis looking to practice yoga on secure surface. Cork is extremely grippy to the surface, lightweight, and antimicrobial. Cork is also hypoallergenic, organic, and anti-static. Sweat is no issue with the extra grip on the bottom.
Cork has a plethora of different positive features all while being eco-friendly and extremely sustainable. Due to the close knit molecular structure of the bark, Cork will resist mildew and mold allowing for a long lasting and healthier mat. Since cork has antimicrobial characteristics, it is practically a self-sufficient material that cleans itself from bacteria or any other danger that could be on the floor. It's anti-static properties keep away pet hair, dust, and water. In the wild, the bark is said to repel insects and any potential predators away from the tree. Cork's cellular structure allows it to store and insulate heat or coldness.
Frequently asked questions:
No, there is not a cork shortage. In fact, there's enough cork on our planet to last the next 120 years. Cork is a fully renewable and sustainable resource. Each cork oak tree is able to live up to 300 years old in the right setting. The trees are harvested in the mediterranean summer months after a 9 year growth period for the bark.
No. The harvest of cork is a controlled process and does not require the cork oaks to be killed or cut down. A recent estimate forecasts that in Portugal alone, where there is the world's largest cork oak forest area, the harvestable cork shall be enough to meet market demand for the next 100 years.
No. The bark of the oak tree (Quercus suber) is harvested every nine years. The tree is not killed or cut down.