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Finance & Innovation

These edible six pack rings are exactly what the world needs more of

Each year, 16 billion pounds of plastic end up in the oceans. In total, there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans today, leaching harmful toxins into the waters.

A lot of this plastic ends up in the guts of marine life and birds who accidentally swallow it and still more ends up disintegrating into small bits of plastic that are pervasive and dangerous. 

Overall, plastic is a major scourge of marine life. 

At the same time, humanity is addicted to plastic. Plastic is used by nearly every business and person in the world in huge quantities because it's cheap, durable and easy to manipulate and use. 

This short-term convenience has long-term environmental consequences, so any effort to steer people in a different direction should be celebrated and rapidly scaled. 

Oftentimes, it's the people who experience the oceans on a daily basis that are inspired to seek change. 

Saltwater Brewery is located in Delray Beach, Florida. The people who work there are also sailors, fishers, surfers and just generally love the ocean. They saw first-hand how plastic was ruining marine life, so they decided to do something. 

Many people know that the plastic rings for six packs can choke or deform sea creatures. Less known is the fact that even when the rings are cut, the plastic still poses a hazard because sea creatures can still eat it. 

The team knew that the only solution to this problem would be to reimainge the packaging entirely. 

So they created 100% biodegrable rings that are also edible for humans and sea creatures. 

The new rings are made with beer by-products such as spent barley and wheat--which makes the whole endeavor that much more sustainable.   

Saltwater brewery has to charge a little extra for their beer because making the sustainable rings is more expensive, but for anyone who cares about the environment, the extra charge is well worth it. 

Ultimately, the brewery hopes to inspire the big beer and beverage companies to join them and make their own biodegradable rings. 

Imagine how much healthier the Earth would be if all plastic was replaced with biodegradable materials.

That's something to work towards--and something to drink to.