We’ve all seen those heartbreaking images of marine animals strangled in the plastic rings that hold together six beverage cans, commonly used for beer and soda. One brewery in Florida is taking on this terrible environmental problem by creating “edible six-pack rings” which sea turtles can happily chomp on rather than risking injury or death. Saltwater Brewery, based in Delray Beach, released a promotional video last week for the ingenious packaging alternative, and it’s gotten tens of millions of views so far. It’s safe to say that people are excited about getting the edible six-pack rings mass into production.
It’s impossible to know for certain how many birds and sea creatures suffer when plastic six-pack rings are thoughtlessly discarded, but estimates put the numbers in the millions. When the public first became aware that the rings were strangling animals, many people began cutting the rings into bits before throwing them out, but that doesn’t stop birds and sea turtles from eating them anyway, which causes all manner of digestive problems. An edible plastic, made from a combination of barley and wheat byproducts of the brewing process, seems like a smart solution.
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Saltwater Brewery has been operating since late 2013 and has worked quickly to connect with local sea lovers, like surfers and fishermen. The company kicks back a portion of their profits to charities working to conserve our oceans and the creatures who call it home, including CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, and MOTE. Creating the 100-percent biodegradable, edible six-pack rings was the natural next step in the brewery’s sustainability mission, and the new rings have met with resounding approval in local trials. Craft brewers in other parts of the country are already asking to use the edible rings for their own beers.
The brewers at Saltwater partnered with We Believers, an advertising agency specializing in products that improve the world, to develop and create the six-pack rings. Now, the team hopes to ramp up production and distribute the edible packaging far and wide, so the turtle-friendly rings can help save birds, turtles, and other wild creatures who are just looking for a snack.
Images via Saltwater Brewery