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Beer Company Creates Edible 6-Pack Rings to Feed Marine Life

environment

Most people love to drink beer while enjoying the beach or while relaxing on a boat. It is one of the pleasures of life that you can enjoy year-round. The downside of this is cracking open a cold one is that the plastic packaging rings that are used to hold your beers together can harm marine life and wildlife and it can choke seabirds.

Plastic packaging rings were introduced in the 1960s, the rings started finding their way into the ocean where fish, seabirds, and turtles either ate the rings or they got trapped in them. In 1984, the New York Times reported that one to two million seabirds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die every year after being entrapped in nets, rings, and other fishing gear.

Eco-friendly six-pack rings

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach announced that they are changing how they manufacture six-pack packaging rings to make them more eco-friendly. These new packaging rings are made from wheat and barley ribbons saved from the brewing process. These 100% biodegradable and edible rings, also known as E6PR, can be safely eaten by any animal that come in contact with them.

The plastic in our planet's waterways is a real issue. An LSU oceanographer, Mark Benfield, led a recent survey that revealed microplastic concentrations on the inner shelf of the Gulf of Mexico rival the highest levels reported globally. Each net that was dipped into the Gulf by LSU researchers came up filled with plastic.

In 2017, a volunteer beach cleanup, three miles off Elmer's Island, gathered more than 170 plastic six-pack packaging rings, along with 4,000 pounds of other trash. The new biodegradable rings are a massive step in the right direction, according to Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove. They hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get onboard.

Saltwater Brewery has long supported ocean-friendly organizations and charities like the Ocean Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, Billfish Foundation, and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium through benefits that were held in its tasting room, and through beer and merchandise donations, beach cleanups and other forms of community involvement.

The head of branding at Saltwater Brewery, Peter Agardy, says that it is a big investment for a small brewery created by surfers, fishermen, and people that love the sea. The E6PR can be found on the brewery's Screamin' Reels IPA. It is available to buy in the tasting room and select South Florida stores like Total Wine and More, Publix, Whole Foods Market, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Lucky's Market.

Plastic pollution problem

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to the planet's oceans. There are 192 countries in the world with a coast bordering the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, or Mediterranean and Black seas.

These countries produced 2.5 billion tons of waste in 2010, and of this, an estimated 275 million tons were plastic and 31.9 million tones were mismanaged coastal plastic waste. An estimated 8 million tons of this plastic waste enters the ocean. Plastic consumption is predicted to increase dramatically, to reach almost 400 million tons a year by 2025 if no immediate action is taken.

 

This article was originally published on sciencetimes.com