Americans consume roughly 6.3 billion gallons of beer per year. And if they’re drinking from cans, they’re most likely dealing with plastic rings.
But those discarded plastic rings can sometimes end up in less than ideal places—the oceans, for instance. And when there, the harmful materials may end up ingested by an unsuspecting sea creature. Or, the creature may end up caught in the rings.
Florida’s Saltwater Brewery and ad agency We Believers are looking to change that occurrence by producing the first edible beer-can packaging.
It’s “a six-pack ring that feeds animals instead of killing them,” according to We Believers. “We developed a material made of barley and wheat … from the brewing process that replaces plastic and also is edible for sea animals.”
According to AdvertisingAge, the companies recently 3D-printed 500 of the biodegradable and edible six-pack rings and introduced them in April with their flagship IPA.
“It shows that through innovation, the little guys can point the finger at governments and big business to motivate change that impacts our world and the one we will leave for our children,” We Believer’s CCO Gustavo Lauria told AdvertisingAge.
The eventual goal is to produce 400,000 of these six-pack rings per month.
“We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board,” said Saltwater Brewery President Chris Gove.
According to Discover Magazine, current standards require that plastic rings should be produced to break down within 90 days. However, that guideline is just not cutting it.
But plastic six-pack rings are a small component of a much larger plastic pollution problem. Each year, people dump about 4.8 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean. Additionally, researchers believe the total amount is around 12.7 million metric tons.
Saltwater Brewery and We Believers are looking to change this trend.