DELRAY BEACH, Florida, May 19, 2016 – Delray Beach-based Saltwater Brewery is as much about ocean conservation as it is about beer. The brewery’s founders love and appreciate the ocean, and say their goal is “to maintain the world’s greatest wonder by giving back to the ocean through Ocean Based Charities (CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, MOTE).”
Now, the brewery has taken a major step toward improving marine habitat by creating six-pack rings that are edible by marine animals. The rings are made of barley and wheat ribbons that are byproducts of the brewing process.
They are also biodegradable, and quickly decompose in the ocean.
More than 250 million tons of trash are discarded by Americans every year, and a large amount of that trash ends up in the natural environment.
While the edible rings are specifically aimed at helping the marine environment, they will also benefit other areas. Raccoons, for example, often end up caught in discarded six-pack rings. Birds and other wildlife is also impacted by the plastic rings.
In a promotional video for the rings, Peter Agardy, head of brand at Saltwater, admits the rings are expensive, but worth the investment. Agardy says, “It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea.” The company also says that if the rings are widely adopted, the price will go down dramatically, bringing the cost close to current plastic rings.
The same video includes statements from Chris Gove, president of the company and Delray native, “We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board.”
According to AdvertisingAge, the company will begin using the rings on all its canned products. The company is currently producing approximately 400,000 cans of beer a month.
The number of species impacted by trash is astounding.
An article from the Humane Society in 2009 stated, “Stranded whales, turtles, dolphins, and manatees have been found with plastic bags in their stomachs or dead from entanglement. In Hawaii, more than 1,000 small pieces of plastic were found in the stomach of a sea turtle. Perhaps the most famous case involved a pygmy sperm whale stranded off the New Jersey coast in 1993. Inky, as she was called, had 3 square feet of plastic clogging her stomach.”
Oceans house giant plastic trash gyres, which are harmful to marine life.
There is an incredible amount of trash floating in the ocean, a lot of which is plastic. It comes from rainwater runoff, off the back of large transportation ships, from personal and cruise ships – where ever you find people and the ocean – you find trash floating in the water.
All that trash has collected in massive ‘gryes’ of horribleness covering more than five-million square miles.
Gyre Facts (From http://www.gyrecleanup.org/what-is-the-gyre/)
• A Gyre is a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents that rotate in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. These create a whirlpool effect, whose vortex moves more slowly at the center and that is where marine plastic debris collects.
• There are 5 major Gyres in the oceans worldwide, all of which are believed to contain plastic and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These consist of carbon-containing chemical compounds that, to a varying degree, resist photochemical, biological and chemical degradation.
• The North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and swirls in the Pacific Ocean roughly between the coast of California and Hawaii.
• Currently, an estimated 11 million tons (and growing) of floating plastic covers an area of nearly 5 million square miles in the Pacific Ocean, 700 miles northeast of the Hawaiian Island chain and 1,000 miles from the coast of California.
The edible six pack rings may not completely solve the problem, but they are an important first step toward sustainability and improving our environment.