Some fish and birds may get caught in it, others may choke on it. Our oceans are so full of the stuff that masses of it, equivalent to the size of countries, are found floating around. Plastic waste continues to blight and threaten marine ecosystems, but with its edible six pack rings, this small brewery is having no part in it.
Plastic waste continues to find its way into our seas and into the stomachs of marine life alike. According to a recent study, concentration of plastic pollution in oceans has reached 580,000 pieces per square km, with an estimated 90 per cent of the 135 seabird species analysed likely to have ingested plastic. Further, the same study predicts that, unless effective waste management can reduce the threat, 99 per cent of all seabird species will be likely to have ingested plastic by 2050.
Plastic in a bird's stomach is not just a superfluous item that will simply get excreted, but it can cause potentially lethal tears to its stomach, or fill it up with empty calories, which can cause death by starvation. The culprits? Anything from plastic bags to bottles and bottle caps and cigarette lighters to beer six pack rings. Birds will just pick them up as they see them floating in the sea.
To help reduce this threat to birds, fish and the marine environment, and to support also those who rely on it, Saltwater Brewery in Florida together with advertising company We Believers, has come up with an edible six pack ring that feeds animals instead of killing them. The ring is made of barley and wheat leftovers from the brewing process, and is not only 100 per cent biodegradable and compostable, but also nutritious and fit for consumption by fish and humans alike. Just like its plastic counterpart, the edible sick pack ring is strong enough to perform its can-holding-and-carrying duties.
According to Salt Brewery, customers are happy to pay a little extra to help limit plastic waste in our seas. Thanks to a pretty much global beer drinking culture, the idea has massive scaling-up potential through the engagement of the large multinational breweries. And just as the edible six pack ring's production costs would decrease, the positive environmental impacts of this clever little idea would simply go up. This is a six pack not to die for, and I'd certainly drink to that!
Here's a video from Saltwater Brewery: