Edible Biodegradable Plastic Could Save Billions of Animals’ Lives

Edible Biodegradable Plastic Could Save Billions of Animals’ Lives

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Chances are, you’ve seen pictures or videos of little sea turtles, sea gulls, or other marine life with their heads stuck in plastic soda rings. It is truly heart breaking to see such cruelty,especially because roughly 100,000 sea animals die yearly due to entanglement in plastic products. There is also a high risk of this increasing due to the billions of pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans today.

Never fear; edible plastic is here! It sounds gross, but they are NOT intended for humans to eat. Saltwater Brewery of Delray, Florida has made six-pack rings that your favorite sea creatures can chew or even eat right through with no harm coming upon it. But how did they do it? As with everything, there are by-products when making beer. Since wheat and barley are the two main ingredients in beer, wouldn’t it make sense to use those products to help nature? I’d imagine that is similar to the thought process of the wonderful people from Saltwater Brewery. Not only are these new plastic rings edible, but they are also biodegradable, so if the rings aren’t eaten, they will just dissolve in the water. Well, to be exact they are photodegradable meaning that they can be dissolved by the sunlight. This is especially helpful because of the millions of plastic products on the surface of the oceans.  If you are still worried about the effectiveness of this new plastic, it is fully digestible so your not-so-furry sea creature friends will not have a problem with that aspect of co-existing with these plastic rings. Despite the fact that they are more expensive to make and sell, the price to do so is expected to drop, and hopefully will even more as other companies, especially those which are closer to the sea, jump on board so to speak. Anyways, Saltwater Brewery produces roughly 800,000 plastic rings per year (based on their approximate 400,000 can per month production rate). Besides this, the only downside is that it can take up to 90 days for the plastic to dissolve, and even then, it doesn’t fully go away most of the time. For anyone reading who may work in the plastic manufacturing business themselves, or know someone who does, here are some reasons to switch and facts about the animals you are endangering:

  • Plastic can not only strangle and entangle unknowing animals, but it can also cause digestive issues if the unsafe plastic is eaten
  • A recorded 170 different species of animals have been harmed by plastic waste (Britain)
  • There is a mere 3 cent increase in price of paper bags when compared to plastic
  • Over 100,000 animals are killed yearly by plastic bags
  • Plastic bags are used for-on average-five minutes and take over 1,000 years to break down
  • Approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic are in the world’s oceans today
  • Fabric or canvas bags which are reusable and have less of a chance of breaking cost about 15 cents