With scientists warning that the oceans may contain more plastic than fish by 2050, shit's getting real with the health of our marine life. It's high time we found an alternative to clogging the seas with plastic.
Saltwater Brewery may have found one. The Florida-based brewery recently unveiled a new biodegradable six-pack ring, which is also safely edible for sea-dwelling creatures.
We've all seen the shocking images of fish, turtles, and dolphins trapped in the plastic rings used to hold six-packs of beer together, but fish and animals can also die from ingesting the packaging, and plastic hangs around on ocean beds long after it's dropped. During the Marine Conservation Society's report of litter on Britain's beaches last year, 960.8 pieces of plastic or polystyrene were picked up per kilometre of the beaches surveyed.
Saltwater's new invention, however, is 100 percent biodegradable. It's also highly sustainable, made from the wheat and barley remnants leftover from the beer-brewing process.
The invention is being welcomed by both environmentalists and animal welfare campaigners. In a statement, Sara Howlett from the RSPCA told MUNCHIES: "This is a heartening idea as it has the potential to cut down on the large number of animals that are harmed by this kind of litter. Litter of any description inflicts such needless suffering to animals and so far this year, the RSPCA has already received 592 calls to its cruelty line reporting incidents where animals have been hurt, injured, or affected by litter."
But will edible beer packaging catch on or is this just a passing publicity gimmick? Beavertown Brewery, an independent craft brewery based in London, currently uses a system of reusable clips on their six-packs, which are supplied free of charge to shops who sell their beer. They don't have plans to change this system but salute what Saltwater are doing.
"Saltwater Brewery's initiative to have a less negative impact on wildlife is really important, and let's hope bigger breweries follow their example," says Kamilla Hannibal, Beavertown's digital content manager. "It's important to dare to try new things and take sustainability seriously in any way you can as a company."
Just don't forget to stick the can in the recycling, too.