first_imgStay on target Along with straws, plastic six-pack rings are one of the most harmful single-use plastic products around. But a packaging company from Denver has come up with an eco-friendly replacement.Plastic six-pack rings were invented back in the 1960s, and they immediately transformed canned beverage distribution. They also started wreaking havoc on wildlife.By 1987, it was estimated that around 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds were killed every year by the ubiquitous beverage carriers.Twenty-five years ago the EPA mandated that all six-packs rings must be designed to photodegrade. Today, most will break down in three or four months. That’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem.We’re partnering with @coloradonative beers to launch a plastic-free, fiber-based six-pack ring for beverage cans. If you’re in Denver, head to @MollysSpirits, buy a six-pack, and help save the planet. #PlasticKills pic.twitter.com/IHusHqP7Hs— Footprint (@FootprintUS) June 17, 2019For one thing, three or four months is plenty of time for an animal to become entangled in a six-pack ring or ingest it. For another, the protdegradation process creates microplastics that continue to harm wildlife for years to come.Footprint, a Colorado packaging company, has come up with a promising alternative: a six-pack ring made of post-industrial fiber. It’s made of recycled material and is both recyclable and compostable.Footprint’s rings have been subjected to a battery of tests to ensure that they’re up to the task. They’ve been exposed to extreme temperatures and high humidity and passed with flying colors. Jeff Bassett, Footprint’s VP of marketing, told Recycling Today “we’re confident this six-pack ring will perform as well as plastic.”Basset says they’re “changing the game,” and that certainly seems to be the case. Footprint’s first customer for the fiber-based ring is AC Golden Brewing, who will use it to package Colorado Native Pilsner.If things go well at AC Golden, their parent company could start using the rings, too. Who’s that? None other than MillerCoors, the second biggest brewer in the United States.Footprint isn’t the only company to offer up something like this. SaltWater Brewery developed a similar six-pack ring that was actually made from brewing waste.More on Geek.com:Even More Kellogg’s Cereal Gets Re-Born as Craft BeerFinnish Designers Pitch Sustainable Headphones Made by MicrobesIgloo’s Latest Cooler Is Fully Biodegradable San Diego to Build Charging Stations for 3,000 Electric Buses, TrucksHydrogen-Powered Plane Can Fly 20 Passengers Up to 500 Miles last_img