The edible six-pack rings are made from brewing by-products and are now being trialled. It's hoped they will eventually replace the plastic six-pack rings.
The edible six-pack rings are the first ever 100% biodegradable, compostable and edible packaging in the beer industry.
Traditionally, plastic versions have been used to sell beer in easy-to-carry packs across the world.
But far too often, this plastic waste ends up in the oceans, posing a serious threat to wildlife.
Not only do marine animals get entangled in the six-pack rings, but they also eat the plastic and die of hunger as their digestive systems get clogged.
According to Greenpeace, 80% of sea turtles and 70% of seabirds are ingesting plastic.
It is estimated that 1 million birds and 100,000 marine mammal die each year because of plastic related incidents.
Now a Florida-based craft brewer, Saltwater Brewery, has worked with the advertising agency, We Believers, to tackle the issue head-on.
The result – edible six-pack rings.
This packaging, which feeds animals rather than kills them, is made using wheat and barley by-products from Saltwater’s brewing process.
As a result, this new packaging goes beyond recycling and strives to achieve zero waste.
In April, 500 edible six-pack rings were produced as prototypes to test in the brewery and with consumers.
They were found to be just as durable as the current plastic option.
Saltwater believes that if all craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, the manufacturing cost will drop.
This would make it very competitive compared with the current plastic solution.
The next step in the project is to manufacture an aluminium and stainless steel machined mould which allows production of 400,000 edible six-pack rings a month.
This should be ready within the next 6 months.
Saltwater and We Believers are working on the project with a small startup of young engineers in Mexico.
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