The brewing giant has teamed up with the plastic-fighting tech firm Footprint.
Credit: MillerCoors

Reducing plastic waste can seem like an impossible task to tackle: Plastic — and even just plastic waste — is so ubiquitous throughout our daily lives. So to combat any sense of being overwhelmed, the idea is often compartmentalized, offering ideas on where to take action. We’ve seen the focus shift from options like plastic bags to plastic straws to plastic bottles. And recently, we’ve seen renewed interest in eliminating plastic packaging from beer — with MillerCoors becoming the latest big name to jump on the trend.

Just last week, Corona showed off a new concept for interlocking, stackable cans that can be twisted together. A couple months ago, Guinness announced it would be moving toward biodegradable cardboard. And in an intriguing innovation last year, Carlsberg unveiled a way to keep its cans stuck together with glue.

This week, MillerCoors brewmaster Jeff Nickel told The Denver Channel that his brewery has teamed up with Footprint, a company focused on removing plastics from the environment by developing “revolutionary technologies.” (On their website, Footprint boasts that they were a winner of the NextGen Cup Challenge seeking to create a more recyclable coffee cup.) Together, they are testing a new set of six-packs rings made from compostable materials. “What we are trying to do is get away from the plastic and get more into the biodegradable, recyclable and bio-friendly solution,” Nickel was quoted as saying. “So when you go up to the recycle bins, you can’t miss. Anyone will take it. And the best part is it won’t end up in the ocean because it will break down before then.”

Likely part of the reason these rings are currently only being testing is that Nickel also suggests that, currently, they are more expensive than traditional rings. “It's not necessarily money saver,” he stated. “It will cost more money, but it makes sense environmentally long term.” Still, the report writes that MillerCoors is hoping to roll out these new six-pack rings “in the near future.”