Unless you're a totally heartless pisshead, too drunk to care about the damage you will cause, it's common practice for eco-concious beer drinkers to chop up the six-ringed plastic packaging that binds cans of beer together in shops. This prevents animals from getting trapped in them, injuring themselves. What it doesn't prevent, however, is the plastic packaging from making its way into a landfill, or washed out to sea. Here, it has a damaging effect on the environment, polluting the natural habitats of ocean life and proving deadly for the fish and marine animals that unwittingly eat or ingest it.
Saltwater Brewery, a small craft beer company based in Florida, may have come up with the solution. It's developed a unique form of beer packaging that's not only sturdy enough to hold its weighty cans, but is can also be safely consumed by animals should it find its way to their habitats:
The Edible Six Pack Rings are completely biodegradable, and are made of waste materials created during the brewing process. Barley and wheat remnants have no ill side effects for sealife. It's good PR too – Saltwater positions itself as the go-to beer for surfers and beach lovers, who naturally will have an interest in maintaining the quality of oceans.
It's a great idea (a little undermined by the OTT, obviously-paid talking head "members of the public" in the clip), and one that could have a really positive impact if adopted en masse by the industry. Using recycled waste materials should theoretically keep the cost down too, which could increase adoption of the practice. Here's hoping manufacturers of similar packaging take note. [WeBelievers / YouTube]