An estimated 13 tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, causing irrevocable harm to wildlife through entanglement or ingestion. One of the most notable offenders is the plastic rings on six-packs of beer and soda. Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla., came up with an ingenious solution: make a six-pack ring that is not only biodegradable, but also completely edible for marine life.
Through partnering up with advertising group We Believers, the team at Saltwater Brewery designed a six-pack ring made of barley and wheat that are byproducts of the brewing process, utilizing what would otherwise be a waste product.
An important feature of the edible rings is being able to securely hold the cans in place while supporting their weight, which they can do.
These rings are meant to be composted, but if they do end up in the ocean, they will dissolve or be eaten by marine life. At any rate, they will not cause damage like their traditional plastic counterparts.
Screenshot via We Believers
The one clear drawback to this new system is that it's pretty expensive to manufacture. However, the team points out that if more brewers got onboard with it and production could happen on a larger scale, the price would be driven down.
There is also a lot to learn about how the decomposing six-pack rings will impact the microbiome of the water or how it will affect the health of the animals who are eating something that is not part of their typical diet.
It is encouraging that one company is taking it upon itself to curb the tragedy of innocent marine animals suffering at the hands of human pollution, and hopefully, more development can be done to improve on any shortcomings it may have.
Learn more about Saltwater Brewery's innovative six-pack ring here:
Cover image: Saltwater Brewery / We Believers