Six pack rings
The six pack rings in most common use today are the descendants of an original design by ITW Hi-Cone, which first introduced them in St. Louis, Missouri in the summer of 1960. Within 10 years, plastic rings had completely replaced the paper and metal based holders then common in the market. Today several other manufacturers continue to produce six pack rings. As interest in multi-packs has continued to grow, other variations, including paperboard baskets and HDPE plastic can carriers have grown in popularity, providing an alternative to conventional six pack rings.
Since the late 1970s, six pack rings have been cited as a particularly dangerous form of marine litter. Marine wildlife have been found entangled in the rings and unable to free themselves, sometimes strangling to death. The instruction to cut apart the rings before disposal has been a popular one from environmentalists, promoted as a simple way that consumers can help alleviate the problem.
However, six-pack rings are a relatively minor contributor to marine litter and wildlife fatalities. Fishing gear and other plastic wastes are a larger problem. Six pack carrier rings are made to photo-degrade within 90 days of being littered—most less than 30 days. This is in accordance with the U.S. Federal regulation for testing plastic photo-degradation, which is 40 CFR Ch. I (7–1–03 Edition)PART 238.
In pop culture
- In the Futurama episode "Obsoletely Fabulous", six ducks are trapped in the same six pack ring, who are then mistaken for beer cans by the robot Bender.
- The 2006 animated film Happy Feet features a penguin whose head is trapped in a six pack ring.
- In The Simpsons episode "The Old Man and the Lisa", Montgomery Burns attaches millions of "recycled" six-pack holders together into a net, which he uses to catch tons of sea life and make "Li'l Lisa Slurry".
- ITW History
- "Interest In Multipacks Picks Up". Food & Beverage Packaging. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "Should you cut up six-pack rings so they don't choke sea birds?". The Straight Dope. 1999-07-16. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Six pack rings hazard to wildlife". Helpwildlife.com. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Louisiana Fisheries - Fact Sheets". Seagrantfish.lsu.edu. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- The Straight Dope: - Should you cut up six-pack rings?
- The Truth About Plastic Ring Carriers. The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- "40 CFR Ch I." (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-15.