‘Passion drives innovation and innovation brings about a positive change’
The problem and solution
An estimated number of over eight million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean each year. This figure is expected to double by 2025. At the same time, packaging accounts for over 40 percent of total plastic usage. Over the last 10 years, more plastic has been produced than during the whole last century. Further, only 5 percent of plastics are recycled effectively, while 40 percent end up on landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems such as the world’s oceans.
Meanwhile, Americans drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer last year, 50% of it in cans. Most of the plastic six pack rings end up in the ocean. More than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in the oceans. Further, over 50 percent of sea turtles have consumed plastic. In total, plastic has been ingested with dire consequences by 700 species of marine wildlife.
Six-pack rings, also known as yokes, are plastic links used to easily sell a set of beverages like soda and beer packs. Once detached, it is imperative to cut up the plastic rings before tossing them away. These lightweight rings often drift out into nature, where they are a danger to plants and animals alike. E6PR is a plastic-free six-pack ring that feeds the marine life instead of choking or ensnarling them. These new high-tech rings are made of organic beer brewing byproducts like wheat and barley that pose no threat to the environment. The rings will decay in a matter of days at a composting facility, or within 200 days if improperly disposed of and left outside, thereby making it 100% biodegradable.
E6PR-The Hero of Marine Wildlife
E6PR, was founded and developed in 2017 by three different groups. The investment was made in part by We Believers, an advertisement agency, Entelequia, a biodegradable supplier in Mexico, and private investors in the beverage packaging industry. The six pack rings have first been produced with the help of 3D printers. The company will also be testing another version of the rings that’s made out of by-product waste from beer manufacturing. E6PR has teamed up with SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla, the first brewery to use the mass-produced E6PRs.
According to the CEO, “If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, we would potentially be saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result.” However, making their environmentally friendly alternative is more expensive than current methods of plastic production, which could deter companies from incorporating their product.
E6PR as a Restorative Innovation Champion
Restorative Innovation is a framework and an innovation model that refers to new strategies, ventures, products, concepts that are designed to restore health, humanity & the environment in addition to creating and capturing a promise of value for the consumer.”
The main objective of the company is to cut down pollution in the oceans and to get rid of the packaging industry of plastic. In the first place, E6PR tried to put the nature first and translated this into a cutting-edge product that is as good for business as it is for the environment. Further, E6PR was born out of two beliefs. First, the passion that drives innovation and secondly, that innovation drives positive change. This said, the company can have a significant impact in restoring the environment. According to the CEO, “If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, we will potentially be saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result.”
Restorative Innovation Model
According to the Restorative Innovation Model, there are 3 stages: Price is substantially high, economy of scale reduces the price and lastly, the price finally falls in the acceptable and the affordable range. The company currently finds itself between stage one and stage two: “Starting price is substantially higher, due to scarcity, limitation in resources or inherent inefficiency.” and “Innovation reduces the inefficiencies or increases supply, allowing for economy of scale which reduces the price selection dilemma and increases customer adoption.” Saying this, E6PR still remains in the test phase to judge its performance. It is slowly scaling up sales to other interested breweries.
The Future of E6PR
Right now, the company is working with a selected group of craft breweries in testing their product in the North American market. Ultimately, there is a goal to mass produce the E6PR for all major beverage distributors. In the future, E6PRs will be available to all breweries, allowing for economy of scale, but the company is currently working in stages. This said, according to the founders, as the production grows, all breweries that have expressed interest will be offered the E6PR as soon as possible.
The following further steps are to be implemented by the company. While continuing to create awareness about the harmful effects of discarded plastics, E6PR’s ultimate goal is to have the greatest positive impact on the environment by establishing their product as an industry-leading solution worldwide. Further, E6PR is exploring additional opportunities to leverage the technology that has been developed for the packaging, as it can be used in the manufacturing of other solutions for companies that offer a variety of canned or bottled products, such as soda drinks.
Will the monster concede in front of this initiative? Will we see the world free of this monster?
Only time can tell.
Special thanks to Lisa Kappe, who co-authored the paper.
To know more about E6PR’, visit: https://www.e6pr.com/copia-de-an-aha-moment-1
To understand restorative Innovation better, visit: www.restorativeinnovation.com