My colleague asked me that question. While we happen to know a DC artist who wants plastic corks, plastic corks generally can't be recycled. It seems that one could recycle plastic corks in the regular recycling, but DC government does not list plastic corks as recyclable. Natural corks can be REUSED (even better!) and help to support the cork industry in the Mediterranean. I realized while sorting the natural and plastic corks that I could actually make a list of wines that usually have plastic corks and thus could be avoided. Here are wines that have plastic corks (and a photo of some of picturesque corks collected by Hayden's on the Hill):
On the other hand, there are lots and lots of other wines that have natural corks. According to Green Yes, E&J Gallo, which having previously used almost no natural cork, now seal tens of millions of bottles with them. Some 370,000 acres of new forest has been planted over the last 20 years. So, consumers can help expand the sustainable natural cork economy, reuse corks, and decrease plastics that end up in the landfill. If you like a wine on the list, ask the winery to change to screwcaps or natural cork. Maybe they will change their ways. E&J Gallo did!