Amidst the plastic waste that is harming the marine ecosystem and its inhabitants, one brewery in Florida is doing its part to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in an attempt to turn the tide against the mucky monster polluting our oceans.
The brewery came up with a package design that will change the environmental impact of their products. The brewery came up with an idea to package six-pack beers with biodegradable materials instead of the plastic version that adds on to the volume of plastic waste.
The Saltwater Brewery, a craft beer brand, has a following among surfers, fishermen, as well as ocean lovers. It was the first brewery to implement the biodegradable six-pack rings—together with advertising agency We Believers, the Growler reported. That idea was later named E6PR (Eco Six Pack Rings) in 2017, which was created by three groups—We Believers; Entelequia, a leading biodegradables supplier in Mexico; and private investors, which includes Saltwater Brewery and a number of other breweries around the world, according to its website.
The E6PR was developed by Francisco Garcia, co-founder of Entelequia, and now, COO and engineer at E6PR. Garcia had to make different reiterations of the prototype in order to make sure they figured out how to make, design, and produce a sturdy but quickly biodegradable material out of edible barley and wheat. So, technically, you can eat it—because it’s edible—but it might not be a good idea considering that it doesn’t taste good, according to Fast Company. On the plus side, it is very sturdy and resembles that of a very stale cookie, but it works.
According to the Growler, Garcia said that the response to the product has been overwhelmingly positive, and they hope that they will be able to persuade more companies and people to come on board for the idea so that they would be more environmentally aware and responsible.
In the video provided by We Believers, some customers said that they don’t mind paying more for the beer if it means the product has a big positive effect on the ocean.
Currently, a number of different breweries around the world have come aboard with the idea, and are suppliers of the E6PR, including in the United States, South Africa, Australia, Solomon Islands, Poland, Scotland, and Mexico.
If larger breweries are to take notice and implement the technology required to make the product, it could save a lot of marine inhabitants, because that would mean they’d be utilizing the biodegradable, unharmful six-pack rings as opposed to the plastic versions, and it would keep that much more plastic waste out of the ocean.
Plastic pollution in the oceans is a big problem for marine life. The ocean is filling up with floating plastic garbage that is being dumped in from all around the world. These pieces of plastic float about, polluting the oceans where they wait to either be consumed by marine life or to harm them in some way.
Much of the plastic that clutters the oceans are often non-biodegradable one-time-use plastic products that don’t break down for hundreds of years.
Such products range from plastic bags to packaging with a harder plastic lining to plastic straws and bottles.
According to the National Geographic, 91 percent of all the plastic manufactured is not recycled, with much of this ending up in the oceans.
Research teams discovered in 2015 that every year, 8 metric tons of plastic ends up in the oceans. That is the equivalent of five plastic grocery bags for every foot of coastline around the world.
For the creatures that venture into the ocean, they will eventually come across the non-biodegradable waste. Some will eat the waste believing it is food, while others will become bound by it in some way. Plastic waste often tangles itself on marine life in the ocean with deadly outcomes.
Plastic in the oceans has been found to cause unforgettable instances of suffering. Turtles have been found gagging on straws and bound in six-pack plastic rings.
According to National Geographic, marine animals sometimes consume plastic waste because it resembles like their prey—if the plastic waste has been in the water long enough, its translucent looks mimics that of the jellyfish, which is a type of marine animal that turtles eat. Not only that, little fish consume pieces of microplastic, as birds consume plastic because of the similarities in the smell that the plastic emits.
In the face of the staggering numbers and cases of marine animals suffering because of plastic waste, companies around the world are trying to find ways to make everything a little better for the ocean and reduce the amount of non-biodegradable plastic that ends up in the ocean.