For decades we’ve been warned of the dangers of letting the rubbery plastic holders that sheath our six packs run astray of a proper trash receptacle, reinforced by heartbreaking images of wild animals ensnared and doomed to a slow, terrible death. Now, thanks to a caring investment from the aptly dubbed Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, these fears can start to be alleviated with their breakthrough edible six pack retainer.
Created in partnership with ad agency We Believers, these friendly new rings are made from recycled castoffs of the brewing process such as wheat and barley, rendering a 100 percent biodegradable, compostable, and, yes, even edible can retention device. The brewery, who’s mission statement claims a goal of “maintaining the world’s greatest wonder” by supporting ocean-focused non-profits such as the Surfrider Foundation and whose marketing has a strong aquatic motif hopes that this breakthrough, and the ensuing publicity, will prompt bigger beer makers to join the cause.
“We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board,” Saltwater president Chris Gove admitted in the above promotional video.
In a world where 90 percent of all seabirds have plastic in their stomach contents and no less than five massive gyres of plastic waste slowly swirl away across hundreds of miles of open ocean, it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t. Well, maybe not that hard. It costs money. But it doesn't necessarily have to.
“Production cost is expected to be between 10 and 15 cents per piece and could drop to be even lower,” Marco Vega, co-founder of We Believers told Digital Trends. “Very much on par with existing recyclable plastic alternatives.”
Saltwater’s hope is that the small increase in cost will be acceptable to a customer base who loves the ocean as much as they do, a gamble that will play out when the rings are officially introduced in production later this year. And if more and more breweries sign up, the price will naturally go down. We won't mention the irony of a regional microbrewery shouldering the responsibility of ending this prevalent, decades-old issue in an industry that rakes in nearly $106 billion every year.
Speaking of billions, with Americans downing 6.3 billion gallons of beer a year this is a small gesture that could have a marked impact on the up to 12 billion metric tons of plastic that winds up in the ocean every annually. Added bonus? You’ll always have a snack handy when the beer munchies kick in.
We’ll drink to that.