The traditional plastic six-pack rings used to keep your beers united are notorious for tearing apart the environment. They take more than 400 years to break down and are the most common trash in the oceans. Every year, an estimated one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals ingest or become entrapped in plastic that finds its way into the ocean and die. But a craft brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, is doing their part to keep deadly trash out of the ocean.
Saltwater Brewery has created edible six-pack rings that feed wildlife and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. The rings are made from the byproducts of brewing, such as leftover barley and wheat grain. They’re digestible for marine animals and humans alike, and are just as sturdy as the plastic carriers when you’re hauling your six-pack around.
The rings are the first of their kind, and Saltwater Brewery hopes that the environmentally friendly idea catches on. “It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers, and people who love the sea,” Peter Agardy, head of branding at the brewery, said in the promotional video. “We hope to influence the big guys and inspire them to get on board,” Chris Gove, president of the company, added.
Currently, the cost to create the barley and wheat ribbons that comprise the holders is pushing up the price of Saltwater's canned brews. But the company hopes the opportunity for consumers to encourage sustainable packaging with zero waste and no impact on wildlife will be enough to gain traction with other breweries to bring costs down. If leading beer companies get on board, competitive pricing could beat out existing recyclable plastic. Production of the rings will begin later this year, allowing this small Florida brewery’s idea to become the solution for a big problem.