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In the 1980s, at the apex of the 'Save the Whales' movement, the ubiquitous plastic six-pack holders were fast becoming symbols of a new type of environmentalism — consumer environmentalism. New attention was being given to waste, recycling and the lifecycle of the many consumer products and product packages entering the market and/or waste stream. I'm not even where I first heard it, but all of a sudden those flimsy white-gray plastic six-pack holders were getting a bad rap because birds were reportedly getting caught in them or snagged by them. I'm not even sure I remember the story, but it emerged as such a widely held belief that it soon became fairly common to see someone pull apart those plastic rings before throwing plastic bird-tangler-killers away. You might still do it. But the other day I came across an even better option.
Yes, the six-pack holders pictured above from Avery Brewing in Colorado have even more plastic than their flimsy predecessors but they are also 100% recyclable. And since they are HDPE #2 plastic, they can be recycled most anywhere, along with the cans they carry, obviously. Making more things out of plastic isn't on its face a good thing. But if these catch on, and recycling rates remain nearly as high for the plastic as they are for the cans, less paper and cardboard will be needed in packaging and less plastic six-pack holders (broken down and not) will end up in landfills.
The word on the street is that other small breweries are also using the new beefier recyclable six-pack holders but this is the first and only beer I've seen using the new system.
What do you think about the new packaging? Have you seen any of your favorite local brews using them? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.