Cork is one of our favorite materials; it is a renewable resource, and its use keeps Portugal's 350 cork forests from being paved over. Lucy Siegle of the Guardian wrote about visiting the cork forests:
It's as if globalisation never happened: instead of outsourced, sub-contracted workers slaving away for a pittance, here we have local men, happily swinging axes in the depths of the forest near to where their families have often lived for generations.
It is also a terrific insulator; The greenest houses are covered with it now.
We also do go on at TreeHugger about the problems of disposable cups, and how one should carry a travel mug, but most of those are metal or plastic. Porcelain is the nicest thing to drink from, which is why most of us do at home, but it is fragile. Enter builder and designer Robert Knox. He writes at his Kickstarter about his Cortica mug:
I’ve been building houses, furniture, and longboards for years. Recently, I started building my own fly rods and working with cork. I realized that cork was the perfect material to insulate and protect a porcelain mug. Cork is a great product because it insulates to keep the coffee or tea hot, serves as a built-in coaster so you never have to worry about harming your furniture, and is impact resistant.
The only plastic is in the removable lid, and that is BPA free. It is a terrific combination of the best material to drink from with the greenest insulating material in the world. And that doesn't even take into account all the tabletops that are saved.
Cork is lovely to look at, cool to the touch and shock-absorbing. Using it actually helps preserve the environment; cork forests are the habitat for the cutest thing you ever saw, the Iberian Lynx; lose the forest and lose the lynx. Nice idea on Kickstarter here.
Read more on the benefits of cork: