A Florida brewery came up with this non-plastic packaging made from wheat and barley
Saltwater Brewery is trying to replace the plastic six-pack rings used for their products, with edible ones that do not harm the sea life, as plastic rings can be fatal to fish, turtles and birds. These biodegradable rings are made from by-products of the brewing process such as wheat and barley, meaning that they not only help towards waste prevention, but are also completely safe for humans and animals to eat. The packaging starts to disintegrate within two hours of being in the ocean, so that fish or other sea animals do not get stuck in the rings. They take two to three months to completely disappear in the water and it takes a similar amount of time to compost if left on the beach, although this also depends on soil composition, humidity and temperature. Saltwater Brewery released a test batch of 500 prototype edible rings last April and plans to scale up production to meet its current output of 400,000 cans of beer a month.
These rings are as resistant and efficient as plastic packaging, however they are more expensive to produce. But the company hopes that customers will be willing to pay a little more in order to help the environment and animal life, and if more craft brewers and big beer companies invest in the technology, prices would go down. It is estimated that the initial mass-produced batch will cost around 25 cents [17p] per unit– about 10 cents more than the recyclable plastic six-pack rings Saltwater is currently using. More than 50 craft breweries have already contacted Saltwater expressing an interest in using edible ring packaging. The company hopes to build a centralized production facility by 2017 around a cluster of breweries.
About half of all the beer Americans drink is sold in cans, so this idea could be a significant start, even though it would be best if people did not throw plastic away in the first place, putting marine life in danger.