JAN 16, 2017 04:35 AM PST

Environmental Innovation: Edible Six-Pack Rings May Save Marine Life

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You have probably seen the photographs of marine turtles, birds, and fish being strangled by the six-pack rings of your soda and beer. Hence came the revolution to make sure to cut the rings up before recycling them - to assure that no innocent creature is asphyxiated. But fisherman Russell H. Haas argues that this action is not enough, as marine animals eat the plastic, which then stays in their stomach. There's enough plastic out there already for animals to get mixed up in, so why add more?

That's exactly Saltwater Brewery's line of thinking. Developing a material of barley and wheat remnants from the brewing process, Saltwater created six-pack rings that will feed animals instead of killing them. Chief Engineer of Entelequia Inc. Francisco Garcia says that besides being completely biodegradable and edible, the rings are also strong enough to hold the weight of your six-pack. Saltwater's mission with their innovation is to inspire larger companies to make similar changes in their manufacturing processes, making biodegradable six-pack rings competitive for their business model. Considering that Americans drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer just last year, 50% of which came in cans that are encased in plastic rings (of which many end up in the ocean), the potential for change is vast. You can make a difference by your consumer choices and pressure big companies to make big changes too.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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