We all know the dangers of plastic and how it can kill animals. Every year, thousands of animals end up caught in plastic beer can rings or sick from eating too much plastic. So, what is the solution? There has to be a way to package beer conveniently and affordably but with consideration of where the packaging will go once it is thrown away.
One company has come up with a solution to this problem.
Saltwater Brewery has created packaging that won’t harm sea creatures. Instead, it will actually feed them. That’s right; designers created a beer can ring that is edible. Brewery President Chris Gove explained:
“It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers, and people that love the sea. We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board.”
While these rings will make a big impact on the amount of plastic that finds its way to the ocean, it won’t fix all the problems.
It will take a while before other companies catch on and start making edible rings, as well. Even then, there are still many other plastics that are just as dangerous and just as plentiful in the oceans. Jennifer Brandon, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said:
“Six-pack rings aren’t the main problem, but they’re a symbol of the problem. Anything that can solve a problem at the consumer end is a good thing.”
The edible rings couldn’t come soon enough.
They could be saving the lives of millions of animals and helping make the plant more beautiful.
According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
“Plastic pollution in the ocean is a rapidly emerging global environmental concern, with high concentrations (up to 580,000 pieces per km2) and a global distribution, driven by exponentially increasing production. Seabirds are particularly vulnerable to this type of pollution and are widely observed to ingest floating plastic. We used a mixture of literature surveys, oceanographic modeling, and ecological models to predict the risk of plastic ingestion to 186 seabird species globally. Impacts are greatest at the southern boundary of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans, a region thought to be relatively pristine. Although evidence of population-level impacts from plastic pollution is still emerging, our results suggest that this threat is geographically widespread, pervasive, and rapidly increasing.”
Gove said that the brewery’s staff has been working hard to find a way to reduce the amount of trash it produces and is hoping that the rings are just the start of bigger things to come.
“We feel truthful about finding a solution to use ways to reduce the carbon footprint, and that’s to use byproducts of the beer processing as it exists right now.”
Plastic isn’t just a problem in the United States but all over the world. Many underdeveloped countries have no ways of recycling and simply throw their plastics out. Oceans, lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers are all full of plastics.
Turtles, ducks, fish, and other aquatic animals get stuck trying to swim through the rings or get sick from eating pieces of plastic.
When we consume fish, we consume small pieces of plastic, too. So, can humans eat these edible beer can rings as well as animals?
Yes! But do you really want to?
They look a lot like cardboard, and it’s safe to say they probably aren’t very tasty.
In case you are wondering, a representative from the company said,
“We’ve all eaten it. It does taste like cardboard,” Gove said.
Let’s all hope that other companies start using these can rings instead of plastic ones. We don’t have to stop at plastic beer can rings; there are plenty of other plastics that can be replaced with edible or biodegradable products. It’s our job to protect the planet. There are ways that we can still enjoy our favorite things while also protecting the creatures we share the planet with.
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