Is This Edible Plastic Invention the End of Ocean Pollution? [Video]

new edible plastic rings will reduce ocean pollution

Around the world, about 100,000 marine animals die from plastic in the ocean every year, much of which stems from plastic soda and beer can rings being improperly disposed of and contributing to ocean pollution. Today, however, that statistic may be a thing of the past, thanks to a recently released replacement that is completely safe for marine animals to eat.

Created by Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, in partnership with ad agency We Believers, these new beer can rings are 100 percent biodegradable, compostable, and edible by marine animals. They are made from recycled castoffs of the brewing process, byproducts of ingredients like wheat and barley. Even Saltwater co-founder Dustin Jeffers claims he’s eaten one.

This move is in-line with the brewery’s mission statement calls for “maintaining the world’s greatest wonder,” the ocean.

“According to GreenPeace, 80 percent of Sea Turtles and 70 percent of Seabirds are ingesting plastic today,” Saltwater writes in their project summary. “This amounts to 1,000,000 birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles dying each year because of plastic related incidents.”

These issues are likely to be eradicated and ocean pollution greatly diminished if these new rings take off the way we — and Saltwater — are hoping they will.

“We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board,” Saltwater president Chris Gove said in a promotional video for the new rings.

And there’s no reason they can’t – the production cost of the new model will likely be on par with existing recyclable plastic beer rings, which, while slightly more expensive than bottom of the line rings, will do a world of good for the ocean, where 12 billion metric tons of plastic ends up floating every year.

The rings are set to become officially available later this year, and the more breweries who opt in, the more likely the price of the rings is to go down.

For now, there’s no good reason not to support Saltwater and pick up a six-pack — after all, it’s better for the ocean.

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Image care of Saltwater

Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.