It's a step towards environmental protection and the innovation came from a company that is determined to help the marine life.
You may have seen many gut-wrenching photos of six-pack rings choking birds and animals, their beaks and necks held captive by the rings to such an extent that they can't eat or breathe, leading to a slow and painful death. These six-pack rings that are on-biodegradable find their way into the eco-system and harm animals on land as well as in the water.
Now, there is finally a solution for doing away with hazardous plastics killing off marine life and it comes from a craft beer company. Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida had developed edible six-pack rings called E6PR (Eco Six Pack Rings) in 2016 that, instead of killing off the marine animals, feeds them should the rings end up in the ocean.
Made from beer by-products such as barley and wheat which are produced during the brewing process, it is not only safe for humans to eat but for fish as well. These rings also claim to be 100% biodegradable and compostable, which increases the sustainability value of the product. According to Metro UK, the brand states that the innovative design is as resistant and efficient as plastic packaging.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the company mentions that the only drawback to this environmentally-friendly solution is that the rings are more expensive to produce. However, the company has hopes that the customers will be willing to shovel out a little more money in order to help the environment and wildlife.
Happy #WorldTurtleDay! From working with organizations like Inwater Research Group, to the Eco Six Pack Rings, we 💙 turtles today and every day! #E6PR #InwaterResearch #Turtles #TurtleDay #SeaTurtles #SaltwaterBrewery pic.twitter.com/DRL1fLeCgr— Saltwater Brewery (@SaltWaterBrewer) May 23, 2018
“It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea,” Peter Agardy, head of the Saltwater Brewery, said in a video embedded at the end of the article. Currently, Saltwater Brewery is the only company making use of these edible rings. But the brand believes that if more breweries joined in this effort, the prices may go down.
With more companies investing in the technology used to make it, the production cost would go down. Then these edible rings would be on the same platform as plastic ones and with more people choosing the environmental-friendly rings, it would go a long way in saving marine lives - something we desperately need right now.
In a report published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), it was found that about 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic and are very likely to have some leftover in their gut. The researchers involved in the report are also “virtually certain” that by 2050, any seabird found dead will be found to have plastic in their stomach. But seabirds aren't the only ones being affected.
According to the Ocean Conservancy’s 2015 Ocean Trash Index — with the help of 561,895 volunteers to pick up 16,186,759 pounds of garbage — found that plastic is among the most common trash item ingested by sea turtles in 2015. Additionally, those volunteers found 57 marine mammals, 440 fish and 22 sharks, skates and stingrays suffocating in plastic.
The index also explained that littering isn’t the only reason that there is so much plastic in the ocean. The plastic can also come by wind after it is picked up out of trashcans and dumpsters or through storm drains that exit into the ocean.
And there is a fact that is even more worrying. According to CBS News, a recent report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight.
Knowing all of this, the concept of an edible six-pack ring can become a real savior for the environment. “We hope to influence the big guys,” Chris Goves, Saltwater Brewery’s president, said to Huffington Post. “And hopefully inspire them to get on board.
He said to Metro UK, "Together, we can all be advocates for a clean and safe environment. Our goal is to transition all of the packaging in our facility to this six-pack ring alternative that goes beyond recycling and strives to achieve zero waste."