Composite corks or agglomerate corks are comprised of cork bits, plasticizers and adhesives. They combine some of the benefits of cork, while reducing the waste from traditional cork production. They also have some of the positive attributes of synthetics, and eliminate TCA through encapsulation of the cork bits.
Unfortunately, these types of cork, while consistently sized, are not consistent in their seal or gas transfer rates, making them suitable only for wines that are destined to be consumed shortly after bottling.
However, one specific producer, DIAM, has worked to produce corks with lifespans that extend out for 5 years or longer. While composites are still a work in progress there is promise here for the cork lover.
Photo courtesy Mmmm KD via Flickr/CC