For decades, the plastic six-pack ring has been the target of environmentally conscious consumers. Images of animals caught in the rings are infamous as a symbol of how a consumer culture obsessed with convenience can destroy the environment.
While the rings make it easier for people to carry a six-pack of beer or soda, they literally kill animals in the wild. An estimated 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea animals get entrapped in the rings, which can lead to death.
Others eat the plastic, which kills them, according to information from Saltwater Brewery of Delray Beach, Florida.
With this in mind, the littler brewery decided to do something about it.
Seeking to solve the six-pack ring issue, Saltwater Brewery created a new six-pack ring that they said will feed animals rather than entangle and kill them. That makes the edible six-pack ring the best green product of the year.
How did they do it? By using the byproducts of the beer brewing process, including wheat and barley. The company says they are completely safe for consumption by animals and, for that matter, humans are well. Sometime to keep in mind if you get the munchies while drinking your beer.
While the rings are more expensive to produce than those made of plastic, Saltwater Brewery is banking on consumers willingness to pay a tad more for a product that eliminates one of the long-standing environmental problems of modern times.
In a video about the invention, Saltwater Brewery president Peter Agardy said the edible rings are a “big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers, and people who love the sea.”
The video also notes that if adopted by other small breweries and large beer companies, than the cost of producing the rings would drop dramatically. And, of course, hundreds of thousands of marine animals will be saved.
The company started with 500 of the edible rings, and hopes to increase production to handle the about 400,000 cans of beer it sells each month, according to Advertising Age.
There is also the possibility that the inspiration and effort that went into making the edible rings will expand to other goods packaged in plastic, including soda.
It remains to be seen how the use of the edible rings will expand, but it’s a remarkable achievement that hopefully will inspire other companies to follow suit.