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Cork's elasticity together with its near-impermeability makes it suitable as a material for bottle stoppers, especially for wine bottles. Cork stoppers represent about 60% of all cork based production. Cork's low density makes it a suitable material for fishing floats and buoys, as well as handles for fishing rods (as an alternative to neoprene). Cork is also used in the manufacture of musical instruments, particularly woodwind instruments, where it is used to fasten together different segments of the instrument and make the seams airtight.
The cork industry is generally regarded as environmentally friendly. The sustainability of its production and the easy recycling of cork products and by-products are two of its most distinctive aspects.
Cork demand has increased due to a larger proportion of wine being sealed with cork rather than being sold in bulk. Top quality corks are quite expensive, so many cheaper brands have switched to lower quality cork, synthetic plastic stoppers, screwcaps, or other closures.