Portugal is located in the south western part of the continent of Europe and since its inclusion within the European union in the year 1986, the country has emerged as one of the premier first world countries of the world and has recorded a stable economic growth which is evident in the affluence and superior quality lifestyle offered to its natives. One of the significant products manufactured by Portugal and which contributes heavily to the economy is cork which is produced by the cork oak tree, grown extensively all over Portugal. In fact about 720,000 hectares of land in the country of Portugal is dedicated to the cultivation of cork oak trees and the bark of this tree is known as cork. Portugal alone contributes to about 50% of the world’s total cork production. The cork oak trees have huge life spans and can live up to a maximum of 150 to 200 years and the cork or the thick bark is extracted time and again to be used for manifold purposes.
Cork is a natural product and after a considerable period of time, when the bark of the cork oak tree or cork attains certain thickness, it is extracted from the tree to be harvested fro about a decade or more. It is to be mentioned here that cork itself is a natural substance and even in its harvesting no artificial means are used. This makes it an entirely natural product without a trace of any non-natural element. No synthetic applications can be used to recreate it. Therefore, cork is extremely ecological and does not flout ecological rules and thus conforms to environmental specifications. In the present world when the huge proportions of human and ecological wastes have emerged as a great problem, corks are recyclable materials and are also biodegradable. Therefore, it means that they can be recycled and reused again which is an extremely environment-friendly attribute of the cork and helps to curb the ill-effects of pollution.