In this day and age it seems as though there is one thing you cannot live without, and that is plastic. It has become so ingrained within consumer products that there is virtually nowhere you can go without encountering this material. Going to the grocery store means multiple single use plastic bags, going out to dinner means single use plastic straws even buying a six pack of beer could mean plastic beer rings. Unfortunately, these plastic 6 pack rings often end up in the worlds oceans, where they become death promises for sea birds. Every year 8 millions tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean; which is the equivalent of five grocery bags for every foot of coastline around the globe (Parker, 2015). Many of the animals surrounding the ocean pay the price through plastic ingestion, entanglement or even death.
Luckily new technology is emerging, which will reduce the amount of plastic found in the ocean; and in turn reduce the number animal injuries and fatalities. One such innovation has emerged from a small brewing company in Delray Florida called Saltwater Brewery. They have created biodegradable and compostable six-pack rings for beer bottles and cans. This product is made from barley and wheat ribbons, which are by-products from the brewing process making them edible for wildlife (Froelich, 2016). This new design for environmentally friendly beer rings is just as resistant and efficient as standard packaging; the only drawback is in regard to price. The company seems confident in its product stating that, “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 take a real stance” (Froelich, 2016). Ideas like these are especially important because they help to pave the way for a more environmentally word that is good for both people and animals.
More information in the links below:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150212- ocean-debris-plastic-garbage-patches-science, http:// www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics, https://www.craftbeer.com/brewers_banter/saltwater- brewery-creates-edible-six-pack-rings
Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Lindsey Stanton