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Dreaded “6-Pack Ring” Gets Eco-Friendly Makeover: Marine Wildlife Can Eat It

May 19, 2016Posted by Helaina Hovitz

Instead of killing marine life, this new strain of beer packaging will actually help sustain it.

For decades, environmentalists and aquatic wildlife lovers everywhere have been lobbying to remove the harmful plastic “6-pack” rings that end up killing or harming the animals they get tangled up in and polluting the ocean floor.

Now, Saltwater Brewery in Del Ray Beach, California has partnered with an ad agency called We Believers to create an edible variety of the long-loathed packaging from barley leftover from the beer brewing process.

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“For brands to be successful today, it is no longer about being the best in the world, but rather, being the best for the world and taking a real stance,” said Gustavo Lauria, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of We Believers.

The ocean has always been at the heart of the Saltwater Brewery brand, and even their way of life, say Chris Gove, President & Founder of Saltwater Brewery.

“If these edible can rings could be implemented on a larger scale, think of how game changing that would be and how many ocean lives it would save,” he said.

A substantial amount indeed, considering that, according to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic is the top piece of trash material ingested by sea turtles, and plastic rings alone tangled up 57 different species over the course of last year. Additionally, according to GreenPeace, 80% of Sea Turtles and 70% of Seabirds are ingesting plastic today. This amounts to 1,000,000 birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles dying each year due to plastic related incidents.

The edible rings are more expensive to make than their classic plastic predecessors, but the company feels the extra cost is well worth it.

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“If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, the manufacturing cost will drop and be very competitive compared with the current plastic solution,” said Marco Vega Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of We Believers.

Considering that Americans alone drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer in 2015, with a full 50% of that volume sold in cans, this type of packaging could make a world of difference if other companies catch on.

“This is only the beginning,” Vega said. “The material we are in the process of patenting together with a small startup of young engineers in Mexico has the potential to really impact the CPG and Food and Beverage Industries, saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result.”

For more, check out the video below:

Additional reporting by Linda Hernandez

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