Cork is one of the most sustainable natural materials on the planet. It’s renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. The cork industry also directly contributes to healthy ecosystems and strong economies. So it makes sense to “Mind the Cork,” as one London-based design studio calls themselves, when looking for home goods that provide function and eco-friendly craftsmanship. 

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Three cork holders. From the back to the front: holding paintbrushes and pencils, a cactus and lastly a succulent

A passion project of Founder Jenny Espirito Santo, Mind the Cork is seeing continued growth. More and more eco-focused customers and like-minded partners are touting the brand.

Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials

“As the business continues to grow beyond a one-woman band, my goal is to build a brand that has fairness, honesty and positivity at its core,” Santo said.

Three sculptures made from corks that somewhat mimic human-like figures

Furthermore, cork offerings include several types and styles of planters, from quite small to medium-sized. The website clearly states the care and maintenance requirements for plants and pots. Alternatively, the planters can be used as desk accessories, bathroom organizers or any other creative purpose. Additionally, Mind the Cork also produces card holders, cork bowls and storage vessels with 11 lid options. 

Two bowls made out of cork, one of the bowls is larger than the other one

“I work closely with craftspeople and small factories in the U.K. and Portugal,” Santo described the process. “They are all an integral part of Mind the Cork’s production process, and I believe in working flexibly, paying fairly and creating solid relationships built on mutual trust and respect.”

Two cork desk containers. One of them holds a ruler while the other one holds three paintbrushes. They both are placed on a board

As a result, the process starts with the cork oak woodlands, primarily located in Portugal. These trees provide wildlife habitat and a healthy ecosystem for plants and animals. The best part: no tree is harmed in the production of cork because there’s no need to cut the trees down.

In fact, cork is sourced from the outer layer of the bark by shaving it away. The tree responds by growing more bark in a regenerative process. That means it actually absorbs three to five times more CO2 than unharvested trees. Cork trees are first harvested after about 25 years and then about every 10 years after that. It’s a slow process, but while the trees work to grow cork, they bring myriad benefits to the environment. 

Various cork containers holding different size green plants

Therefore, Mind the Cork respects this process after harvest by producing collections in small batches, minimizing waste and reusing materials whenever possible. Although still working towards 100% plastic-free shipping, the company uses recycled cardboard and paper packaging whenever possible. The use of plastic is only as a last resort. 

Various cork containers with tan and dark brown lids

“Considered craftsmanship, innovation and eco-friendly design are at the heart of Mind the Cork’s ethos,” Santo said. “Sustainable design has to be planet and people-friendly, which means being as inclusive and accessible as possible, in addition to being considerate to our natural environment.”

+ Mind the Cork 

Images via Mind the Cork