Global beer company Corona says it will begin piloting plastic-free six-pack rings in select markets as part of the brand’s joint commitment with Parley for the Oceans to lead the industry with eco-friendly packaging.
Corona’s partnership with Parley, an organization that aims to protect the world’s oceans and beaches from marine plastic pollution, began with a commitment to protect 100 islands by 2020 and expands to include the “pursuit of scalable innovation that can change the status quo.”
“With roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year, there is a need to confront the issue on multiple fronts, which is why Corona has adopted Parley’s A.I.R. strategy to not only ‘avoid’ and ‘intercept’ plastic as much as possible, but also help ‘redesign’ solutions that use the material,” says Corona.
Although Corona is primarily packaged in glass and fiberboard, the brand says it sees an opportunity to help redesign a common source of plastic in the category: six-pack rings. The plastic-free rings being tested are made from plant-based biodegradable fibers, with a mix of by-product waste and compostable materials. If left in the environment, they break down into organic material that is not harmful to wildlife, whereas the industry standard plastic six-pack rings are made from a photodegradable form of polyethylene that results in increasingly smaller pieces of plastic if not recycled.
Although most plastic rings are recyclable, the reality is that the majority of all plastic ever created hasn’t been recycled, says Corona, which is the motivation for it to pursue solutions that avoid the material entirely. The pilot will start in the brand’s homeland of Mexico at the beginning of next year and will expand outside Mexico later in the year.
“The beach is an important part of Corona’s DNA, and we have been working with Parley to address the issue on the frontlines where plastic is physically accumulating,” said Evan Ellman, Corona Better World director. “We also recognize the influence a global brand like Corona can have on the industry, and with the support of Parley, are pursuing scalable solutions like plastic-free six-pack rings that can become a new standard to avoid plastic for good.”