Farah R. | Positive Outlooks
In the midst of the massive plastic problem that is being experienced globally, a craft beer company is trying to help fight it by encasing their products in non-plastic and eco-friendly packaging.
The Florida-based beer company Saltwater Brewery, in collaboration with the startup E6PR (Eco Six Pack Ring) – who produces the eco-friendly six-pack rings – has upped their products’ sustainability game by putting their beers in edible six-pack rings instead of the usual plastic ones.
The cardboard-like rings are created from beer by-products – such as barley and wheat – that are left during the brewing process. They are completely safe for fish and humans to eat.
But before you start munching on them in place of your greasy potato chips, know this: The rings are edible for humans too, but they might be contaminated on their way to the production process so it really isn’t recommended. Plus, it doesn’t taste very appealing, with one E6PR founder saying that its flavor is comparable to “a very, very stale cookie.”
There have been many cases of marine life death due to plastic ingestion. Other sea creatures also get stuck within the loops of these plastic rings, causing deformities. If they don’t end up as a meal for fish, the edible rings are also 100% biodegradable and compostable, so disposal problems are avoided as well.
According to the brand, their own design is as sturdy and efficient as the plastic variant. However, the only downside is that edible six-pack rings are much more costly to produce, so customers would have to pay more for them. But they hope that patrons would be willing to shell out more cash to help the environment, especially animal life.
Peter Agardy, head of brand at Saltwater Brewery, said:
“It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea.”
If more beer companies hop on the bandwagon, the company believes that prices will decrease. Also, if more companies invest in the technology of creating edible six-pack rings, then the production cost would go down as well and there is a chance that edible rings would become competitive with the plastic variant.
The brewery sells about 400,000 cans a month, and they hope that their target consumers – “surfers, fisherman, and people who love the sea” – will find the eco-friendly packaging worth spending for – all in the name of saving the environment.
Every day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find its way into the ocean, and it is killing our marine life. In fact, 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution yearly.
These are horrifying figures, but we believe that it is not yet too late to reverse it. Initiatives like this one started by EP6R and Saltwater Brewery gives us hope that more and more people and businesses are becoming aware of this serious environmental issue, and that they are doing their best to combat it in ways that they can.
“We hope to influence the big guys,” Chris Goves, Saltwater Brewery’s president, said. “And hopefully inspire them to get on board,”
We hope so, too.
If these edible six-pack rings are embraced by the market, maybe they’ll eventually make their way into soda cans and other packaged drinks! It’s still a far cry from the progress that we currently have, but that future is certainly something to look forward to.
How about you? What steps are you taking to reduce your use of plastic?