Shiraz to Chardonnay, American's Cork Recycling Takes Flight

American is recycling the wine corks it collects in 24 Admiral's Clubs across the country

By Scott Friedman
|  Saturday, Oct 31, 2009  |  Updated 8:42 AM CDT
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American Airlines Cork Recycling

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American is recycling the wine corks it collects in 24 Admiral's Clubs across the country.

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American Airlines Cork Recycling

American Airlines has an aggressive campaign to recycle used corks from wine bottles
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At airport lounges around the world, idle hours are spent over a good glass of wine. OK, maybe a few glasses of wine.

At the American Airlines Admirals Clubs, the corks pile up by the hundreds -- by the thousands -- each year. But it's not the end of the road for these corks -- there's no trash can in their future.

They are natural corks made from cork trees, not the faux corks used by some wineries.

American is now recycling the wine corks it collects in 24 Admiral's Clubs across the country. The corks are turned into floors, shoes and compost used in gardens.

Travelers such as Chad Sizemore were surprised to see the recycling effort.

"I had no idea you could recycle the wine corks like that, so no idea at all," he said on a recent layover at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

But as more passengers hear about the program, some are even bringing their own corks from home and adding them to the recycling heap.

"The response we've gotten from our customers and our employees has been incredible," said Admiral's Club President Nancy Knipp. "It really shows people are concerned about the environment and want to do something to help the environment."

According to Re-Cork America, the company American Airlines has partnered with, about 3 billion corks are used every year around the world, and most end up in landfills.

American's program is an effort to change that.

"And hopefully it encourages people to buy more wine," Knipp said.

OK, we can drink to that.

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