A Florida brewery created edible six-pack rings to help save sea turtles and other marine life.
Who here enjoys a six-pack? Everyone knows that the plastic from beer six-packs can do to wildlife if they’re not disposed of properly. With so many examples of this out there, it’s hard to believe that there are still those who don’t understand the dangers of plastic for marine life.
There are many examples, One of the most well-known examples is Peanut, pictured right, her shell grew with her despite having the plastic around her body. This went on for 4 years before she was found and gave her this odd peanut shape to her, and messed her internal organs up to an extent. Thankfully, little peanut survived her terrible experience, but this isn’t the case for most marine animals when they face the plastic from six-packs. We often think that it is enough to cut up the plastics then throw out these six-pack rings. It’s not enough, as turtles and birds eat the plastic and that in turn will affect their organs.
That being said, one company seems to be taking the stand against this. They have had enough of seeing harm done due to their packaging and have chosen to find another route that will cause less harm to marine life and the environment. Saltwater Brewery is the company that is taking this stand and they have paired with an ad agency, We Believers, to help develop an entirely edible beer can six-pack packaging. If this is the way of the future than I am all for it! We all admit we need a change so why not work on it now?
This is not only promised to be safe for the marine and wildlife, it is also said to be made from recycled waste! The brewery has stated that they make rings from wheat and barley byproducts that remain after their brewing process. The results are said to create a 100% biodegradable and safe for consumption plastic. How great is that! Not to mention, if no fish or wildlife are interested in eating it, the rings simply decompose.
The downfall, presently is we have not been made aware of what the company is using to make the rings as strong as existing plastic on the market. However, the new six-pack rings are still faster to decompose and also edible. So, for the moment, we will just have to take them at their word. They have released a test batch in April of 500 six-packs, and now are planning to replace all with the new rings. That will be a total of 400,000 cans monthly distributed from their factory.
The second downfall, the production of these rings is a little more expensive than the original plastic packaging, which may result in a higher price on the shelves for the Saltwater Brewery beers to help cover the cost. The developers, however, are quite certain that they can get the cost down, and utilize a 3D printing technique to make this even more efficient of a process. The price is sitting right now at 10-15 cents per piece for the product, but is expected to drop lower to meet the cost of existing recyclable products.
Since 1989, there has been a law in place that required all the manufacturers of six-pack rings to use 100% photo-degradable plastic. What this means is that the product starts to break down after a few days of exposure to the sun. That being said, it only starts to. Not completely disappears. Plastic that is deemed to be biodegradable or compostable only needs to have 60% biodegradation after 180 days in the U.S. This leaves plenty of room for wildlife to get ahold of this plastic. They pose a risk for animals for a total of 180 days at least, this is far too long for a time frame. If something is laying there, on the ground for at least a week, do you think a bird won’t be curious or another creature? We need to eliminate the plastic waste altogether.
Estimates are stating that the total amount of fish in our ocean will be outweighed with plastic waste within 35 years. This is a reason that we all need to take a stand and make a change. We all enjoy our oceans and the beautiful creatures in it. So, let’s prove it! Let’s take a stand with all breweries and plastic companies and demand a change.
This is a step in the right direction for Saltwater Brewery, let’s hope that many others follow this example and reduce or replace the plastics used in their manufacturing process to lessen our impact on our world’s oceans, wildlife, and marine life. There is still time to fix what damage we have caused, let’s all start today!