Today’s consumers are increasingly eco-aware. In the world of wine and spirits this has powered significant growth for cork stoppers, since cork forests constitute vital biodiversity hotspots and cork is 100% sustainable, recyclable and renewable.
As plastic and other non-perishable waste invades our oceans and landscapes, consumers are increasingly wary of plastic- and metal-based products. When it comes to stoppers for wines and spirits, market research demonstrates that consumers prefer cork over plastic, aluminium and other synthetic closures, because they believe that cork guarantees quality, while helping to protect the planet.
In the case of capsulated stoppers, the flange covering the cork can be made of plastic-based materials, but to ensure that the entire stopper is 100% sustainable, Amorim Top Series has pursued a major R&D effort to adopt new bio-based polymers that are exclusively derived from renewable and/or biodegradable sources.
To the best of the company’s knowledge there are no other capsulated cork stoppers available in the market that include bio-based polymer capsules produced from materials of a natural origin.
ATS’ project’s main objectives are to:
- Research and select bio-based polymers of a natural origin, that constitute an alternative to oil-based polymers, in order to reduce the environmental impact of manufactured capsules;
- Using the selected bio-based polymers, develop commercially attractive composite materials, which combine cork with 100% natural-based polymers.
- Maximise the amount of cork incorporated in the composite material.
- Ensure maximum use and valorisation of cork by-products and residues, in particular cork powder and cork granulate which can bring significant benefits to this industrial sector.
Humans have used bio-based polymers for many centuries, including rubber, cellulose and keratin. For example, wool, which incorporates keratin, has been used for millennia. The cinema, initially shot on cellulose nitrate film, also used a natural polymer - cellulose.
Synthetic plastics are very strong – which is one of their selling-points – but for this very reason they can take thousands of years to decompose.
Amorim Top Series has selected bio-based polymers which guarantee resistant capsulated stoppers, which are 100% sustainable, bio-degradable and compostable.
ATS’ natural capsulated cork stoppers are available across the company’s market segments: Elegance, Premium and Classic Value.