With sustainability being one of our three core values when founding Paulin, we consciously decided to use and source sustainable and durable materials for our packaging. If you have read our previous blog post about our tenth anniversary, you’ll know that we are proud to say that our packaging has been plastic-free since 2015!
One of our most used and loved materials is cork. We use this 100% natural, sustainable and biodegradable material in our best-selling wall clock and for our watch packaging. The previous iteration of our watch packaging was made from card and paper, with a cork insert replacing the usual plastic-based foam. Cork has all the suitable properties to cushion the watch inside the box without scratching the glass and can be laser cut or injection moulded to create any desired shape.
With each iteration of our packaging, we’ve aimed to strip away unnecessary items to reduce waste, so a natural next step was to make the entire box out of cork. The result is the perfect marriage of form and function: the box is sleek and compact, with the elevated detail of a brass clip to hold it together.
Our wall clock was designed initially with weighty wood and glass, which caused issues with Glasgow's crumbling tenement walls and dodgy DIY jobs. The updated cork design, released in 2019, enhanced the wall clock's functionality and durability.
Our cork items are produced by a small family-run business in Portugal. Father-daughter duo Bernardo Nunes and Sara Nunes founded the company in 2006, combining their marketing knowledge and passion for cork to start their own business.
We caught up with Sara over the summer to ask some important cork-related questions!
Five cork facts from Sara:
- Cork is a type of bark taken from the Cork Oak tree (Quercus suber), one of the only trees in the world that can regenerate its outer bark.
- The bark regenerates every seven years and recovers over 98% of its original form.
- The tree is not damaged or chopped down to extract cork; only the bark is stripped to harvest. Harvesting occurs when the cork oak tree reaches 25 years of age and subsequently occurs every nine years. The process is not harmful to the development of trees.
- Cork is 100% natural and completely recyclable.
- The Cork Oak tree can live up to 250 years!
What led you to start your own business, specialising in cork?
We are a family company, founded in 2006 when my father, Bernardo, decided to launch his own business after 25 years of working in the cork industry. 3DCORK was founded in the same month he turned 50. Two months later, I joined him. We combined forces in production and marketing to offer products that merge ancestral knowledge of cork production with contemporary design in footwear components, homeware, industrial applications and sports for ready-made and tailor-made designs.
What do your company values mean to you?
We base our activity on four main aspects:
Design: Combining beauty and functionality is the baseline. We want our cork items to provide long-lasting function for their owner. To achieve this, we include sustainable materials that are recycled and recyclable.
Production: Sustainability and best production practices guide our production. We guarantee that no trees are harmed or chopped down for our production. We have a no-waste policy, meaning we re-integrate and upcycle our excess materials. We also generate our energy through solar panels in our facilities and implement the best safety practices for our people and product quality.
People: We aim to have our products in the lives of not just our lovely customers but also in the lives of the people we work with, as well as collaborators, suppliers, universities and technology centres. Our commitment is to enable access to sustainable and functional eco-friendly items, championing the natural properties of cork.
Ecological and Sustainable: We choose the materials we work with and ensure they come from renewable resources and are recyclable. Providing a sustainable product is important to us, so we take care of all facets of the process, from material and production to the people involved in manufacturing.
What does the future hold for 3D Cork?
We want to work hard to continue to be seen as a reliable partner for our stakeholders, especially regarding sustainability, best practices and innovation in product development and materials possibilities. We strive daily to give the best training and work conditions to the people working with us.