It's the rare problem that has just one solution. A case in point is the mounting consumer backlash against the plastic "six-pack rings" used for beverages, which can pose a choking hazard for wildlife and contribute to the growing problem of plastic waste.
Now comes word of two beverage companies—both brewers—that have solved the plastic problem, but in very different ways.
One, the Danish brewing giant Carlsberg, is ditching the six-pack rings altogether. In their place, it will use spots of glue to hold the aluminum cans together. Three years in the making, the new "Snap Packs" reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multipacks by up to 76 percent, Carlsberg says. The company adds that the switch will cut plastic waste globally by more than 1,320 tons a year—the equivalent to 60 million plastic bags.
The other brewer kept the rings but ditched the plastic. Delray Beach, Fla., microbrewer Saltwater Brewery has replaced the traditional plastic six-pack ring with an eco-friendly version that's both edible and biodegradable. The rings, which are made of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process, can be safely eaten by animals that may come into contact with them, according to the company. Available now in Florida stores, the new beer packs help consumers enjoy a cold one without producing litter that can harm sea birds, seals, and sea turtles, the brewer says.
Feeling thirsty and eco friendly? We package 100% of our canned beers with the Eco Six Pack Ring. Sustainable AND delicious! #saltwaterbrewery #e6pr #craftbeer #craftbrewery pic.twitter.com/zjxvqySVCb— Saltwater Brewery (@SaltWaterBrewer) September 12, 2018
For more information, contact the edible rings' designer, the New York-based startup firm E6PR (short for "Eco Six Pack Ring").