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MAPLEWOOD, Mo. – A sustainable solution might just give a market edge to one local brewery.

In the St. Louis beer battles, it’s an altruistic accouterment for your ales that might be the cure for the six-pack.

“We call them can collars,” said Will Rogers, head of marketing for Schlafly Brewery. “Essentially, they’re wet strength cardboard with a laminate, so they can go in and out of coolers, get a little bit of moisture on them, and they’re still pretty tough too.”

For St. Louis-based Schlafly Brewery, working with Virginia-based packaging manufacturer Westrock, they’ve tipped their hats to the top of the can solution that’s an environmentally friendly way of keeping a six-pack together.

“It has been something in the works for a while. We go to trade shows and have looked for alternatives, things that are cost-effective and actually work,” Rogers said. “We came across it and started to utilize it for a little bit and when we saw that it worked and it withstood going through a full supply chain from the brewery to your grocery stores we said we have to integrate it into everything we use.”

So beer fans that want to support their local brewery and keep plastic rings out of the ocean can feel good about cardboard.

“It’s just wet strength board that has hard teeth that slide over the top of the can and once it’s over you really have to tear it out,” Rogers said.

If your instinct when you see a cardboard six-pack ring is to lift from the bottom because you’re worried it’s not strong enough? The cardboard can-do approach seems to work.

“One use and then it goes in the recycling and actually these are made up of almost 15 percent recycled (materials) already,” Rogers said. “So, it’s just another great notch in the right thing to do.”