Did you know that one million birds and 100,000 sea animals become trapped in plastic or ingest it and die every year? And did you know that these innocent creatures only have access to this plastic because 80% of the plastic we throw away ends up in the ocean?
These facts are sad but unfortunately true. Read on to learn what’s being done to combat this problem — and how you can do your part to help stop sea animals who get hurt and die from ingesting plastic.
Edible Beer Can Rings
Much of the plastic that ends up in the ocean are the six-pack rings that are found around beer and soda cans. People at the beach toss them into trash cans without thinking. But when birds find them in the trash, they’re fatal. Or when the wind blows them out of the trash cans and into the ocean, animals like fish and turtles ingest them and can easily die. And it’s more common than you might think. In fact, if this continues, 99% of seabirds are expected to have plastic in their guts by the year 2050.
When Saltwater Brewery found out about this problem, they decided to make a change. Saltwater Brewery is a small brewery in Delray founded by fishermen, surfers and other people who truly love the sea and all of its animals. They teamed up with We Believers ad agency to create six-pack rings that are entirely edible — so they feed, instead of kill, marine life.
These edible rings are created from beer by-products, such as barley and wheat. They are 100% safe for humans and animals to eat. Plus, even if they’re left outside, the rings are totally biodegradable and compostable.
If you think the edible rings won’t be as sturdy as plastic ones, don’t worry. The new design has been shown to be as resistant and efficient as all plastic packaging. One drawback so far, however, is that the edible rings are a little more expensive than plastic rings. However, Saltwater Brewery’s goal is to make the public aware of the horrible consequences of using plastic rings on soda and beer cans. Once they do this, the craft beer company believes that consumers will have no problem paying a little extra to help make a difference in the lives of so many birds, fish, turtles and other sea animals. Plus, if more breweries end up switching to the edible rings, prices could go down.
Making an Impact on Marine Life
Saltwater Brewery believes that by developing these edible six-pack rings, they will not only save hundreds of thousands of marine lives, they could also make a huge impact on the CPG and Food and Beverage industries. Americans drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer in 2015, and 50% of that volume was from cans, so this invention definitely has the potential to really make a difference for sea animals and our environment.
This is the first time a 100% biodegradable and edible packaging has been implemented in the beer industry.
Chris Gove, President of Saltwater Brewery, hopes that other craft breweries and and big beer companies begin to implement this innovative technology. He explains, “We want to influence the big guys and inspire them to also get on board.”