Saltwater Brewery, a Florida-based brewing company, along with New York-based ad agency We Believers, have made a revolutionary effort in preserving marine life.
Together, they have replaced plastic 6-pack rings with ones that are 100% biodegradable and are also safe for wildlife consumption. These eco-friendly rings are made of wheat and barley pulp, which are byproducts of the brewing process. Of course, this does not mean it is acceptable to begin dumping Last Friday Night’s trash directly into the ocean, but it ensures that if any stray rings do go afloat, Nemo and his friends will be unaffected.
So how did this wonderful idea come about?
When Marco Vega and Gustavo Lauria of We Believers were eating lunch at a production shoot one day, they were dismayed at the amount of plastic waste left over after a single meal. Instead of taking the traditional route of an awareness campaign, they decided that the best way to reach consumers would be changing the products. The two contacted Chris Grove, president and co-founder of Saltwater Brewery, and the trio set their sights on the abundance of wheat and barley remnants from the brewing process.
Using a 3-D printer, 500 working prototypes were produced two months later. Their success quickly became a hit on the internet; a Facebook video posted by NowThisFuture promoting biodegradable 6-pack rings has gained more than 54 million views.
As of today, there are no specialty rings available outside of Saltwater Brewery. The next step for the team is to create a hydraulic mold creating 200,000 units a month so that Saltwater Brewery will be able to apply the new rings to all their products. 2017 also holds the promise of expanding this technology as Saltwater Brewery looks to partner with other microbreweries.
Six-pack rings might not be the only source of the plastic contaminating our oceans, but the achievement made by Saltwater Brewery and We Believers is an example of solving the problem from the consumer end. Every day we see new reports lamenting the terrible condition of our seas and the suffering of marine life; what’s needed is people like those of Saltwater Brewery and We Believers who cease grieving and start changing.