A microbrewery in Florida has produced a biodegradable alternative to the plastic six-pack rings that often end up in the worlds oceans. Saltwater Brewery has produced a six-pack ring made of wheat and barley. If the rings do end up in the ocean, marine life can safely consume the packaging or it will break down in a short space of time. The rings took a while to develop but have been in stores in south Florida since 2018. The manufacturing of the rings is a little more expensive than the plastic alternative but this price would be reduced if major breweries got on board with the idea.
It is estimated that a staggering 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the worlds oceans every single year. The plastic stays there and is constantly accumulating year after year. A beach clean up took place in Mexico in which volunteers picked up around 1 ton of rubbish. Amongst the rubbish was 170 plastic six-pack rings. The devastating affect these rings can have on marine life is well known thanks to photos like the famous hour glass turtle named Peanut. Plastic six-pack rings get stuck around animals necks or bodies. They can end up with deformed bodies and underdeveloped organs—if they’re not strangled first. Many people ask why it took so long to develop these biodegradable alternatives.
What are the major breweries waiting for
So why are these rings not used on a mass scale by major breweries. With all the awareness of plastic pollution and a blatant consumer demand for lower carbon footprint products, you would think that this product would be adopted by all major breweries. The probable reality will no doubt be one of cost, if they can make the plastic rings for cheaper, then they will continue to use them. Countries have gone as far as to ban the use of plastic straws but there is no mention of these devastating plastic rings.
Small breweries in Australia, South Africa, Poland, Scotland, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington State have adopted the product which is good news.
Thankfully Corona became the first major brewery to adopt the edible 6-pack rings in 2019. This could be a catalyst to inspire other large companies to adopt the biodegradable alternatives and potentially save millions of sea creatures.
Corona initially piloted the new rings in Mexico and said the product will be expanded if sales go well. The unfortunate reality is that it will take years for the majority of major companies to adopt this product and in the meantime hundreds of thousand of marine animals will suffer. The only way to speed up the process of adoption would be for governments to introduce legislation like they are doing with single use plastic straws.
Visit our home page for more Vegan News