Small craft brewery produces edible packaging for six-packs. Instead of killing sea creatures, it feeds them.
Every year, around a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die from ingesting or becoming entrapped by plastic sixpack rings for beer cans. In the United States alone, 50% of the 6.3 billion cans of beer sold are packed with plastic rings. A large proportion of these rings end up in the ocean.
The owners of Saltwater Brewery on Delray Beach in Florida decided that something needed to be done. Established in 2013 by people who shared a love of ocean leisure pursuits and an appreciation of quality craft beer, Saltwater already gives financial support to several Ocean based charities. But the founders were determined to make a bigger contribution. Well aware of the threat to sea life posed by plastic rings, they started to look for alternatives.
The ‘lightbulb moment’ came with the idea of recycling barley and wheat by-products from their own brewing processes to create a digestible and compostable six-pack ring. Much development work was needed to achieve packaging that was functionally strong and resilient, yet kind and nutritious to sea creatures when discarded.
Saltwater Brewery has received well-earned praise for its initiative and wants to see the big breweries follow suit. “If enough of them do so,” said a Saltwater spokesman, “the cost will fall below that of plastic rings.” Perhaps conservation-minded beer drinkers will increasingly focus minds on this issue when they choose to buy a good beer with a big conscience.
“Smart thinking” was first published in a previous edition of inhuis: one of several stories which withstood the test of time. Therefore worth recycling and minimal waste on the environmental front!