Plastic rings from beer cans are notoriously bad for the planet. Animals get stuck in them, especially if they wind up in the sea, and we've known that for a very long time. There's even a Simpsons episode about it, back during the eighth season when it was still good. While it's been a long time coming, Carlsberg has announced it's ditching the plastic rings. Instead it will be keeping beer cans stuck together using recyclable glue.
The new 'snap packs' will be launching in Tesco from 10th September, starting in the UK and eventually rolling out to Denmark. After that the company will out the design across its entire portfolio of beers, which will in turn help reduce its plastic usage by 76 per cent. 76 per cent! That's an absurdly high reduction, and again makes me ask the question of why this hasn't happened before. In fact Carlsberg claims it will reduce global plastic waste by 1,200 tonnes each year, the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags. Suddenly all the good work from the plastic bag charge seems pretty meagre.
A spokesperson told Metro that the plan is to create a "better beer experience for consumers" which includes being nice to the planet. In addition to the glue, which the company says isn't that different to other kinds of glues, it's working on other 'packaging innovations' that helps reduce the environmental impact of its products. Which is good, especially if it's reducing the amount of crap that ends up floating through the ocean.
It's not the first beer company to do something about the plastic rings, since Florida-based Saltwater Brewery developed edible rings back in 2016. They were made from wheat and barley waste leftover from the company's beer-making so it all fit together nicely. Carlsberg has obviously taken a different approach, but it's definitely long overdue. Let's hope other boozeries follow suit, and that the glue doesn't turn out to be dangerously toxic to fish or something. [Metro]