Life Ecorkwaste: Sustainable management of cork waste


The project ECORKWASTE (Integrated and sustainable management of cork waste generated in the cork industry) LIFE14 ENV/ES/460 was approved in the second half of 2015, under the Framework Programme of the LIFE program, which is a financing instrument for supporting projects focused on Environment and Resource Efficiency project application, and will be implemented from September 2015 to December 2018.






The main goal of ECORKWASTE is the demonstration of the technical, environmental and economical feasibility of cork waste valorisation, according to the cork waste particle size.


Cork waste with certain particle size will be used as absorbent material in wetlands, for the elimination of organic compounds in a wine industry wastewater treatment system. Other cork waste such as the used cork stoppers, cork waste that has reached to silting in the absorption process in wetlands and cork powder, will be used as substrate for energetic valorisation in a gasification process.




ECORKWASTE takes into account the waste management priorities established by the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/CE and also the waste management aims for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th  Environmental Action Program. Besides, main targets of Directive 1999/31/CE about biowaste disposal in landfills are also tackled.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To minimize landfilling of cork waste by means of turning waste into value. ECORKWASTE focus on designing ways to prevent, reuse and valorize cork waste, as prioritized in Directive 2008/98/EC.

  2. To demonstrate at pilot scale the feasibility of an innovative hybrid constructed wetland system based on the use of cork wastes, as granular media, for the treatment and reclamation of agroindustrial wastewater (winery wastewaters). The wetland plants will eliminate BDO5  and the cork waste will absorb the recalcitrant organic compounds (polyphenols) of the wastewater.

  3. To demonstrate at pilot scale, the use of cork waste as adequate substrate for syngas production by gasification in fluidised bed.

  4. To reduce the energy consumption in the cork industry by the generation of electricity from a gasification process. This will contribute to the implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC.

  5. To reduce water consumption in winery industry fostering its potential re-use within the production system, while achieving higher effluent quality due to wetlands implementation (Directive 2008/105/EC).

  6. To compare the innovative and sustainable wetland and gasification systems against alternative current practices using the same indicators.

  7. To disseminate ECORKWASTE results for the reproducibility, marketability and maximum application of ECORKWASTE technology to other European experiences




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