Goodbye Plastic Soda Rings; Hello Edible Alternative

The E6PR is biodegradable when left out in the elements.

By Ethan L. Johns
January 23, 2018

Image: E6PR

We’ve all seen the horrifying images of dolphin snouts held shut with plastic rings from soda or beer cans, or penguins walking around with them around their necks. Yet, up until now, the can market hasn’t found an effective way to replace them.

So a startup called E6PR launched themselves at this plastic problem and wound up creating the Eco Six Pack Ring: a can holder that breaks down when left out in the elements, on land or at sea.

The E6PR (the company and product share the same name) is made of wheat and barley, which means that, in addition to simply breaking down, it can also be eaten by animals and humans without causing health problems (the company does not recommend actually chowing down on the product, since it’s not tasty and can pick up a lot of contaminants during transportation).

Send it off to a composting facility and it will be dirt within a couple days. If it (“unfortunately”) finds itself in the ocean, it can disintegrate in under 200 days, depending on conditions in the ecosystem.

The product was originally released in 2016, though it took a long time before it was strong enough to function effectively. According to Fast Company, the next models will be made up of waste wheat and barley from beer-making, further improving their environmental impact.

Interested in checking out the goods? The E6PRs are getting a trial run with “Screamin’ Reels IPA” beer from SaltWater Brewery, which are currently being sold at a North Miami Whole Foods supermarket. In addition, an interactive map on the company’s website shows locations up and down the eastern coast of Florida that are stocking E6PR-ringed beers.

While E6PR claims that many craft breweries are interested in using their environmentally-friendly product, it will not be able to meet demand until it manages to scale up its production. In the meantime,  recycle those boxes and make sure not to litter those plastic rings. The penguins are thanking you.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns