Though the brand is better known for its iconic clear bottles, Corona says it hopes to help influence the beer industry as a whole.
Credit: Courtesy of Corona

The problems with plastic six-pack rings are nothing new. The negative impact these can holders can have on sea life has become such an ingrained part of our collective conscious that it’s been referenced in everything from The Simpsons to Finding Dory. Solutions are nothing new either: Plenty of brands have opted to pack cans in alternatives like cardboard boxes or a plastic wrap to prevent the previously ubiquitous rings from landing in the ocean. (Even edible six-pack rings have been created!) And yet, this year, the push to further eliminate unnecessary plastic waste has led to a new round of (hopefully) more environmentally-friendly options. In September, Carlsberg unleashed a way of sticking cans together with glue (seriously) that they suggest is a game changer. And now, Corona is boasting that the Mexican beer has become “the first global beer brand to trial 100% plastic-free six-pack rings.”

According to Corona, “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.”

The new rings will initially be tested in Tulum, Mexico, at the beginning of 2019, and the plan appears to be to bring them to the United Kingdom after that. Any additional further global rollout wasn’t hinted at in the announcement.

What Corona does admit, however, is that its beers are “primarily packaged in glass and fiberboard”: The clear bottle is one of Corona’s signatures. However, the brand explained how innovating with six-pack rings still held significance. “The beach is an important part of Corona’s DNA and we have been working with [global awareness group Parley for the Oceans] to address the issue on the frontlines where plastic is physically accumulating,” Evan Ellman, Corona Better World Director, stated. “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.”

Now if only Corona could find a way to get more mileage out of all those squeezed out lime wedges that are getting thrown away.