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article imageSaving our oceans — Breweries have answer to plastic can holders

By Karen Graham     Sep 9, 2018 in Technology
Plastic rings from can and bottle holders are a danger to wildlife and a major part of plastic pollution in our oceans. Two breweries are tackling plastic waste in a unique way by removing plastic from 6-pack holders.
It's always great to hear that a company is taking its impact on the environment and sustainability seriously. Two breweries, one, Danish global brewing giant Carlsberg, and Delray Beach, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery are focusing on the plastic can holders used for lager and beer multipacks.
Not only are these plastic can holders a huge source of the plastic pollution on our streets and waterways, but it ends up in the oceans, becoming part of the five-trillion pieces of plastic already suffocating marine life and threatening shorebirds.
The two breweries may be separated by half the planet, but they are tackling the same problem - getting rid of the plastic net-like rings that yoke six-packs of canned beverages together. So let's look at the two technologies.
Six pack rings made of polyethylene
Six pack rings made of polyethylene
Saltwater Brewery's sustainable 6-pack holder
Florida-based Saltwater Brewery, working with startup E6PR, short for "Eco Six Pack Rings," developed a compostable ring alternative that would biodegrade if it ended up in the oceans.
Going along with E6PR's goal of finding a "sustainable way of handling cans," the project became a collaborative effort between New York ad agency We Believers, Mexican biodegradable supplier Entelequia, and private investors from the beverage packing industry.
The really cool thing about the E6PR's is that they are completely biodegradable and compostable, both on land and if left in a water system where the organic materials are said not to harm wildlife upon ingestion. This is because the can holders are made of barley and wheat ribbons used in the brewing process.
The E6PR ™ (Eco  Six Pack Ring) is the first ecofriendly six pack ring made from by-product waste ...
The E6PR ™ (Eco Six Pack Ring) is the first ecofriendly six pack ring made from by-product waste and other compostable materials, designed to replace the plastic rings, which are truly damaging to our environment.
When disposed of properly, the E6PR ™ finds its way to a compostable facility, where it will degrade in days, and when, unfortunately, left out in open on land or in a water system, it will degrade in a matter of weeks. And because organic materials are used in production, the E6PR materials do not cause harm to wildlife if eaten.
SaltWater says its goal “is to maintain the world’s greatest wonder by giving back through ocean-based charities [CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, MOTE] and the Edible Six Pack Rings. …Packaging is done on-site with the brewery’s in-house canning line, as well as their new in-line labeler for seasonal and special releases.”
Chris Gove, President, and Co-Founder of Saltwater Brewery says, “Saltwater Brewery was founded in 2012 with a mission to not only brew good beer but to give back to our oceans. The Eco Six Pack Rings help to further our mission by keeping plastic out of our landfills and out of the sea, and we are proud to be the first brewery to implement the rings and package 100% of our beer with them.”
Carlsberg's new "SnapPack"
In what is being called a world first for the beer industry, Danish brewer Carlsberg is phasing in a new “snap pack” which it claims will reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multi-packs by as much as 76 percent.
Ubiquitous 6-pack rings made of plastic have been a standard packaging device for more than 50 years and have become an environmental scourge. The rings are being replaced with a glue that withstands cold temperatures but can easily give when you are ready to break open a cold one reports EcoWatch.
Cans in four, or six, or eight-can packs are held together by tiny blobs of a strong glue, designed to withstand a range of temperatures including storage, transportation and refrigeration in the home. The cans audibly snap when pulled apart, and the glue can be recycled along with the aluminum can.
Carlsberg vice president of product development Myriam Shingleton told The Independent that the company had worked for three years on developing an alternative to the plastic rings that environmentalists have warned about since the 1970s.
Carlsberg worked with packaging company NMP Systems. The brewery spent years developing its Snap Pack formula, testing around 4,000 different types of glue before settling on their final formulation.
According to its website, NMP Systems developed the Nature MultiPack™ It is a multipack solution that combines innovation and sustainability. A groundbreaking packaging system for PET bottle and can multipacks, it adds functionality while reducing packaging material. NMP Systems offers adhesives, equipment, and services that deliver superior industrial performance, consumer convenience and a premium look and feel.
More about Plastic pollution, Oceans, Breweries, 6pack holders, Carlsberg
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