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Plastic Six-Pack Rings: How You Can Make a Difference in the Environment

Plastic six-pack rings have only been around for about 50 years, but in that time, they have become ubiquitous. It’s easy to see why they became so popular and widespread; they are a convenient way to make canned drinks easily portable. Nevertheless, they play a part in the problems that plastics pose to the environment. Eco-friendly six-pack rings may present a solution to the problem of plastic rings.

Why Is Plastic Bad for the Environment?

To begin with, plastic is derived from petroleum. Petroleum is a byproduct of the decomposition of the bodies of animals that died millions of years ago. Since these animals are no longer around to die and make more petroleum — and even if they were, it would take millions of years until it was usable — petroleum is considered a nonrenewable resource.

Petroleum has many potential uses, including as a fuel source. Until human beings manage to wean off fossil fuels completely, it is important to use them efficiently. Using petroleum to make plastic six-pack rings is an inefficient use of petroleum because it is a product that cannot be reused or recycled.

Another problem with plastic is that once it gets into the environment, it stays there indefinitely. Instead of biodegrading, it just breaks down over time into smaller and smaller plastic shards called microplastics. Breaking down into smaller pieces makes microplastics in the environment hard to avoid, and they have been found in the bodies of animals and even people. Research is ongoing into what the long-term effects of microplastics in the body may be; at this point, it is too early to tell.

What Are the Problems With Plastic Six-Pack Rings in Particular?

Plastic six-pack rings are specifically designed to be as lightweight as possible to make it easier for people to carry beverages from one place to another. Because the rings are so lightweight, it is easy for them to catch in the wind and get blown away.

By law, plastic six-pack rings have to be photodegradable. This means that they break down with exposure to sunlight. However, this process takes a long time, up to 90 days. Furthermore, it has to be direct sunlight; six-pack rings that land in the shade or end up underwater may persist in the environment indefinitely.

Both land and sea animals have been known to get tangled up in plastic six-pack rings and be unable to free themselves. As a result, the animals have often been killed or severely disfigured. Because a plastic six-pack ring twisting in ocean currents resembles a piece of seaweed or a jellyfish, sea animals have been known to try to eat them. At best, this could contribute to microplastics building up in the animals’ bodies. At worst, it could cause them to choke or suffocate.

What Can You Do To Help Keep Plastic Six-Pack Rings Out of the Environment?

There are things you can do to prevent plastic six-pack rings from getting into the environment where they can cause trouble:

  1. Make sure that you get rid of any trash that is non-recyclable in the appropriate receptacles. Before disposing of plastic six-pack rings, cut up the loops so they can’t entrap animals.

  2. Buy beverages in bottles instead of cans. Many six-packs of bottles are packaged in biodegradable cardboard containers and even those that don’t come in plastic rings that break apart when you take one of the bottles.

  3. Whenever possible, buy canned soft drinks or beer from companies that use eco-friendly six-pack rings. This may mean giving up your favourite brand, at least for a while. In the long term, as beverage companies start seeing the economic benefits of using rings that are better for the environment, they will probably switch over.

Eco Friendly Six Pack Rings From Kinsbrae Packaging

Find out more about eco-friendly six-pack rings, custom packaging sleeves, and other innovative products from Kinsbrae Packaging.


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