Anthropologie’s Earth Day Recycling Program

Editor’s Note: Erika Sorgule, the author of this post, is the display projects manager for Anthropologie. We asked her to write this post to better explain the Earth Day window display project the clothing store is undertaking. Like Erika and Anthropologie, Kendall-Jackson is also a committed partner to the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance.

So often it’s the little things that go unnoticed, but those little things can also quickly add up. About a year ago, on one of my weekly trips to Whole Foods, I stumbled upon a box full of “little things.” A new recycling program called Cork Reharvest, created by the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, was collecting wine stoppers. Of the 13 million cork stoppers used each year, only a small amount are collected and recycled. The CFCA’s program is trying to change this!

There is a saying, “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” This Earth Day, Anthropologie is striving to be part of the cork solution. We’re setting out right from the beginning with a goal: to support cork, to support the environment, and to do it right. In partnering with the CFCA we have been able to strategize a way to borrow, collect, and donate cork while being as environmental as possible. The project started with a gift to Anthropologie from the CFCA and Kendall-Jackson of around 2.5 million used corks. In addition, our store teams have been collecting cork stoppers from the staff, the community, and the customers for over a month now. Through the support of so many we have collected between 4-5 million corks.

Cork is this material that is seen and used daily, but most people know little about. It actually does so much more for the environment than many realize and by highlighting this little cork stopper in a big way we hope to give it a stronger voice. We hope our partnership with the CFCA can support not only their collecting and recycling efforts, but also help to get the word out about the importance of cork and the cork forests. The cork collected and reused within our  windows will be repurposed even further after the windows are taken down. Our Anthropologie cork collection, nearly 5 million strong, will all be given to the CFCA to be recycled and transformed into new objects by all of their supporting partners.

For us at Anthropologie, inspiration comes from so many places, but no matter the season, or idea, one of our favorite inspiration sources is nature. Because of this, in a way, we are always highlighting nature, but the month of April is a time when we push to do a bit more!. It’s a pretty amazing thing when, in just one project, you can use, highlight, and protect a material! It’s sort of our way of giving back to one of the most important inspiration sources we have.

With a beautiful, textural, and versatile material like cork, our teams have created everything from plant filled spheres to beautiful wall patterns. Cork stoppers have been dyed rich saturated colors, sliced them into paper-thin discs, and linked them together to create chains. The flexibility of the material makes it perfect for Anthropologie! It really is a win/win for us. We are able to create beauty and protect what we find beautiful! Because of the excitement, Anthropologie stores worldwide now hold creations made from up to 30,000+ corks… talk about little things adding up!