The problem with today's rings is the same as that of any other type of plastic, especially if it reaches the sea. However, it also has the aggravation that its structure causes many species such as seagulls or turtles to become entangled in it. Saltwater Brewery has had an idea, which is to replace those plastic rings with a material made from vegetable fibers and solid by-products generated by the brewing itself.
The result is rings as resistant as traditional ones, but biodegradable and that marine animals such as turtles and fish can eat. The material that serves as the basis for the rings has been developed under the supervision of marine biologists. However, and as conservation organizations such as Save Our Shores point out, it is still too early to determine exactly its effect on marine ecosystems.
For now, it prevents animals from suffocating with them, but more tests will still need to be done to see if there may be long-term harmful effects. Saltwater Brewery has produced 500 units of the rings to test their strength and usefulness for packaging beer and is confident that they will be able to market them in the fall of this year. If all goes well, the company plans to sell these rings to other manufacturers by 2017.