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Photo Courtesy of AB InBev

At the forefront of our minds as a society these days is waste caused by single-use products such as plastic straws and plastic bags but one of the biggest contributors has long been six-pack rings.  Since as long as I can remember, it’s been a product people looked to eliminate, modify or enforce proper disposal, to ensure sea turtles and other types of animals didn’t get stuck in it. Well, Corona recently unveiled a brand new solution, one that eliminates those pesky plastic rings altogether.

Late last week, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company that distributes the top-selling imported Mexican beer to the United States, announced a solution to plastic rings – stackable cans.  The company created Corona Fit Packs, specially-designed aluminum cans that interlock together using interlocking threads located at both the top and bottom of the 12-ounce containers. It works almost like a Lego or Lincoln Log system and is strong enough to hold 10 cans in a single column, which stacks up to four feet tall – not exactly optimal when purchasing two six-packs or a 12-pack from the store.  However, there is an advantage in the ability to untwist and re-twist these beers, where as the plastic rings can only hold the can once because once the beer is pulled out, it cannot go back into the hole.

“In the beverage industry, there have been many solutions for cutting back the use of plastic, however, none has been fully adopted because they require the use of other materials,” AB InBev Marketing VP Carlos Ranero said in the above promotional video. “This solution has a very simple approach that can bring great financial benefits thanks to the complete removal of plastic materials in packaging.”

This isn’t the first idea in the hopes of eliminating the plastic rings and making carrying six-packs easier, as years ago companies tried both replacing the rings with biodegradable cardboard and biodegradable glue but neither of those efforts managed to stick and become the standard used by the beer and soft drink industries.  Each year, approximately 17 million tons of plastic is used in the beverage industry’s packaging, so these Fit Packs could be the start of drastically trimming that number. And, this new system actually reduces the amount of manufacturing steps, since no packs need to be prepackaged at all, so it’s clearly a win for the beer producer as well as the environment.  It’s also not limited to Corona, as the company is open-sourcing it, in the hopes that other companies will soon follow suit.

It will definitely make building a Stanley Cup replica out of beer cans much easier when the NHL’s postseason rolls around next year.