You’ve seen images of aquatic animals trapped in plastic and other waste products that humans have dumped into the water. Remember Lovelace from the movie Happy Feet? That poor penguin had soda can plastic wrapped around his neck for most of the film.
It’s tragic and a real problem for marine life. The billions of pounds of ocean plastic have been compared to smog, but there are a few companies looking to lessen that load. One of them is Saltwater Brewery, a Florida-based craft brewery who is the first in the industry to use biodegradable six-pack rings.
They’ve partnered up with E6PR – creators of the innovative packaging – to bring the product to store shelves. According to E6PR’s website, the rings are “made from by-product waste and other compostable materials.”
If the rings make their way back to a composting facility, they can be returned to a degraded state after a few days. Should they be disposed of in a different way in the environment, it takes approximately 200 days for them to break down.
Because they are made from organic materials, the degradation waste does not harm the environment or wildlife. And in case the rings are accidentally ingested, animals will still be safe.
Considering the amount of waste we see washing up on shores or floating as patches in the oceans, this is a step in the right direction. As highlighted in this video, sea turtles are among the animals greatly impacted by plastic and other trash in the water.
Much of the work done at Loggerhead Marine Life Center is centered around sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation, and it’s been noted that the creatures suffer injury or death due to ingesting plastic.
As an endangered species, one of their biggest threats is ocean pollution, so any efforts to slow down both fatalities and sea degradation are welcome. Right now, you can only find these Saltwater Brewery products in stores throughout South Florida. It’s pretty much a test to see how well the rings do and if E6PR can scale up and produce them for other beverage makers.
In an interview with Fast Company, one of the startup’s partners spoke on plans to expand production of the packaging in Mexico:
“For Big Beer, it’s really about making sure that we can not only produce the E6PRs, but also apply them at the speed that those lines require.”
He also said it will take some time and more testing before they can increase their reach. But it’s still exciting! Other companies are also jumping in to help grow the biodegradable packaging industry. We can look forward to seeing more items on the market with edible or compostable packaging.
Made from materials like seaweed, soy, or wheat, they break up without harming our ecosystem. Humans and animals can appreciate that! To hear more about Saltwater Brewery and the E6PR ring, click on this video.
What do you think of this cool six-pack ring? Do you live in an area where this beer is available? Would you support a business that uses sustainable packaging?