Can you compost wine corks?

tomatonut(9a FL)May 22, 2008

Hi all--I was wondering if anyone has experience composting wine corks. I seem to have a lot around the house and wondered if they could go in the pile out back. Thanks for the input.

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great idea!

They're just cork from cork trees,
oughta work fine for compost.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 10:16PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

They may seem like they should break down, but IME, they don't.

I use them as bedding in my worm bin and they last for years. In fact, I have added more, but never replaced the ones I started with four or five years ago. Some have lost their shape a bit, but that's all. Sometimes I'll find a stray one in my compost bin or a garden bed and it stays there forever until I put it back in the worm bin.

If you can compost these babies, you are a far better composter than I!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:50AM
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Depends. Are these real cork or the synthetic cork many wineries are using today?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:35AM
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tomatonut(9a FL)

I have hundreds of corks of varying compositions--I kind of thought the regular, all-natural, non-pressed variety might break down, but I also thought this could be a long process....

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 9:18AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

You would probably have to smash them up... get them to crumble. Cork is a great material for bottle stops and flooring because its nearly impermeable - which would leave me to believe it would be very hard to compost. But I think clean cork, crumbled up, wouldn't be bad for the soil - even uncomposted.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Yes, if you could grind them into particles, they might make a good soil amendment. I don't have a chipper, :-( or I would have tried that long ago. I sliced a few into disks with scissors as an experiment several years ago, and every now and every now and then one surfaces in my soil or bin, basically unaltered.

BTW, I am talking exclusively about natural corks.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:31AM
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You might want annpat to weigh in on this. They might get soggy and you won't get your compost certification from her.

BTW, she hates bread in compost.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:57PM
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david52 Zone 6

I've found that the compost-ability of wine corks depends on the terroir. On the one hand, the 1968 Bordeaux Chateau Margaux, the Montrachet 1978 from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, yer 2004 Domaine d'Escausse La Croix Petite, Gaillac, an' them 1999 and 2000 Giacomo Marengo La Commenda, Tenuta del Fondatore Chianti Riserva compost pretty good.

But don't even try with the 2003 Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Those corks will be gumming up your tiller, sticking to your pitchfork tines so ya gotta scrape them off constantly, and popping up in your potting soil for years.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:42PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Somebody offered this tip in an issue of Harrowsmith magazine: put wine corks in the bottoms of planters as a natural light-weight replacement for styrofoam or whatever. They absorb some moisture, help drainage and prevent the soil from drying out. Haven't tried it, need to drink more. You should come up to Nova Scotia for a visit David, I like your taste in wine (you bring the wine).

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:48PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I was thinking based upon the OP, that it might be a good idea to hang out at tomatonut's house.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 3:09PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

I would really rather not say just how many corks I have or how cheap the wine was ...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 3:48PM
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tomatonut(9a FL)

david--I wouldn't dare think of opening any 03' CDPs--these are corks with age...

So softer wines can donate their jammy monsters should be used for arts and crafts projects?

hey maybe I should start composting the sediment at the bottom of some of my older bottles!

Now that's an idea...anyone know what port sediment would do to your compost?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:04PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

If it came from the port of Halifax - I wouldn't do that to my worst enemy's compost. Although our provicial capital is supposed to be putting in a state of the art disposal system soon, and no longer letting the stuff go straight into the harbour -

Oh, you meant port.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:49PM
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