Something I didn’t think about when I was younger and went through 6-packs of Sunkist or Natural Light (What was I thinking?!) like water.
The rings on these 6 or 8 packs of soda, beer, seltzer, etc can be deadly to animals. Even if you throw them away in your garbage bags or recycling bin, it doesn’t ensure the safety of wild animals. They easily blow away from a refuse site or fly free from your recycling bins into storm drains. And most of these 6-pack rings end up in the ocean and pose a serious threat to our marine wildlife. The rings, the larger ones that hold the cans in place and the smaller ones in between can end up around an animal’s neck, choking them to death. Or ingested by seabirds or turtles or entangle sharks and rays, etc.
And yes, this is still a major problem.
In 1989, federal mandated that the sole global producer of these rings manufacture it to be 100% photodegradable. So, it now starts to disintegrates in sunlight after a few days. So that’s good, right? Well, yes. It means that any that wash up on shore or are exposed to the sun at a waste station will not be a danger.
But what about those wrapped around the middle of a turtle? The one who’s swimming and spending the majority of its time under water? Not really exposed to sunlight. Not really a big help for the rings to be photodegradable. Neither does it help out the dolphin or manatee who gets entangled by it under water.
The best way to handle these plastic nooses is to cut them up. Still. This is not outdated. This is the only way to ensure that they won’t strangle or incapacitate wildlife. Cut through every possible hole in the rings. The large ones that hold the cans and the smaller ones in between. Snip, snip, snip!
And goodness, if you know of another way we can safely dispose of these, please share!