Six-pack rings, those plastic rounds that hold cans of beer together, are notoriously dangerous for the planet. At some point in your life, you were likely warned that creatures, like seabirds and sea turtles, could get tangled in or choke on the things. So you've been carefully cutting them up before discarding them ever since. That, or you remember the scene in Can't Hardly Wait, where "Earth Girl" accosts Jennifer Love Hewitt and the whole party for being "sheep" as she resolutely cuts away at the turtle-threatening plastic.
Thanks to Florida-based beer company Saltwater Brewery, this scene, and your diligent snipping, may one day feel like a complete anachronism to future beer drinkers. The brewery, in partnership with NY-based ad agency We Believers, has just invented an edible, biodegradable six-pack ring. Made out of barley and wheat ribbons that are by-products of the brewing process, the rings also recycle the brewery's waste, too. It's a pretty brilliant concept.
As We Believers tells Discovery, it's "a six-pack packaging design that instead of killing animals, feeds them."
Sure the rings are more expensive to produce, but if more breweries catch on and consumer demand increases, the market could become more competitive and drive prices down.
Seawater Brewery is already looking into increasing production: "We are moving forward to manufacture an aluminum and Inox steel machined mold, which allows a production of 400,000 edible six-pack rings per month. This should be ready within the next three months," Katelyn Perkins, Saltwater Brewery's PR manager says.
As The Huffington Post reports, some 90 percent of seabirds have consumed plastic at some point in their lives. What's more, in 2015, the Ocean Conservancy found more than 550 fish and sea mammals ensnared in plastic. According to National Geographic, the ocean is filled with more than 5.25 trillion pieces of trash—and counting.
Thanks to Saltwater Brewery, you can now help fight ocean pollution and save sea life by cracking open a cold one. In our eyes, this is the only six-pack you should be concerned about this summer. Bring on the beer (can) belly.
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