Drinking is in the headlines again but not for the usual health reasons. A small brewery in the United States has made an edible six pack for beer that is biodegradable and edible.
Americans drank 24 billion litres of beer in 2015 and 50% of that was sold in cans. Many of the plastic ring holders end up in the sea, with hugely detrimental effects to marine life. An estimated 1 million sea birds and 100 thousand marine animals, such as sea turtles, eat the rings or are caught up in them, often dying as a result.
Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, have come up with a solution. Their ring holders are made of barley and wheat remnants from the brewing purchase: edible and biodegradable, these are strong enough to replace the plastic alternative.
Environmentalists have expressed concern about the effects of this edible product on the food chain and suggest that limiting the litter in the first place would be preferable. But a ring that feeds animals rather than kills them is a first for the beer industry. As craft breweries expand their market share, the edible rings are attracting interest from other breweries, potentially reducing production costs.
At 10-15 cents per unit, it’s still a snip – a small price to pay for saving marine life.