When you pick up a YogurtNest it feels similar to a beanbag, but that familiar feel of the filling is not polystyrene, styrofoam, beads or plastic balls, but in fact cork. Small pieces of cork oak bark are used to line each YogurtNest, creating a perfect insulator and incubator for making delicious food.
The early prototypes of the YogurtNests were filled with wood shavings, a by-product of a beehive-making business. But, as you might imagine, the wood did not quite have the desired levels of durability, couldn't be washed like cork and even made an irritating noise when shuffled. Most importantly, the wood did not insulate the milk anywhere near as efficiently as cork does, so the product now vastly outperforms it's original siblings.
In recent decades the cork industry has suffered at the hands of plastic alternatives, from bottle stoppers to flooring, and the knock-on effect has been significant for the fragile ecosystems, biodiversity and livelihoods that depend on the presence of the cork oak savannas. As cork declined in popularity, so vast areas of forest were replaced by cereal farms, eucalyptus plantations and housing developments.
Although cork can grow from Portugal all the way to eastern Siberia, it is only the climate of the Mediterranean Basin that enables the bark to grow thick enough for harvesting into tools. What's more, cork oak is capable of growing and adapting to life in typically poor soils, providing protection, habitat and shelter to exceptional biodiversity and wildlife.
To harvest cork in such a manner that enables the tree to flourish without causing long term damage is a highly skilled job and as such YogurtNest helps to protect traditional techniques that maximise the connection between sustainable human endeavour and the natural environment.