Dangerous Disposable Devices

I’ve just come back from a half hour walk and I found yet again some items that would seem harmless to humans but can have deadly consequences for animals or birds.  This post is a highly practical one.  We’re heading into fairer weather and summertime activities here in the northern hemisphere and with it comes summer trash.  My purpose in this post is to show you one of the things I’m talking about, why I’m concerned about it and what we can do about it on an individual basis quite easily.

Western Culture seems to have a love affair with disposable and single use items that are used in one grand moment and then are discarded.  They are created for our ease and they do make life a little easier.  The item in today’s post relates to our drinking pleasure!


Exhibit A:  the plastic 6-pack can holder

(dirt and all, as I found it)

Designed for our convenience in carrying 6 cans of beer, pop, or soda (depending on where you live and your drinking pleasure), this little device is pretty nifty.  However, once the cans are removed whoever puts anything back in the holding device?  It has served its purpose in life and is now discarded…often onto the ground and even our beaches and waterways!

This device is torturous and sometimes deadly because animals and even birds have become entangled in its circles that once held the cans.  While I would love to see the end of this ‘holder’ all together, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.  So, we have to do something to protect animals when we are done with it.

Here are a couple examples of the harm I’m talking about:



This heron was not able to be helped and it later drowned according to SeaWeb.


The solution is simple:  cut the circles then recycle the plastic if you can.

(all circles have been cut even though a couple don’t look like it)

Even if the plastic is a type that degrades in sunlight, this can still take a long time so it is still important to cut the circles.  If you don’t have a knife or scissors handy, a key will still accomplish the task.  I did it today myself with the one I found.  Taking a moment to do this may save an animal or bird from a torturous death or an extremely difficult life.

In a future post, I’ll cover another dangerous disposable device.  Please enter your email to receive these posts automatically and leave a comment below!

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12 Responses to Dangerous Disposable Devices

  1. Fabian says:

    Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before.Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written.will be referring a lot of friends about this.

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Fabian,

      Thanks for visiting and for your kind words! And, if you can share this with others, that’d be great! There’s a share button at the bottom (“email” or any of the others, too). The more people who know about this the better.


  2. I came by from the help forum. But I like this post. I’ve cut those rings for years after hearing about what they can do. I look forward to see what else you post.

  3. Deanna says:

    Hi, Thanks for checking out my post! Those rings are awful and there are a couple more things I’ll mention in a future post. Hopefully more people will cut these things up. Cheers, Deanna

  4. I read something encouraging in the news. There has been discovered a type of fungus that can eat plastic. The article stated that even with recycling, so much plastic is still made, so maybe this can put a dent in the landfills. ?? Here is a link to one of the articles:

    • Deanna says:

      Thanks for sharing. That’s very interesting and potentially hopeful. I wonder if there are any by-products to be aware of or is there a risk of it being an invasive species if moved around. Questions to answer but very cool that they found it.

      Also, about the recycling…not much is recycled as it turns out. It would be neat is a fungus could help us out.

  5. FeyGirl says:

    i see these… and all i can say, is GRRRR. we have several wonderful organizations filled with volunteers that scour the beaches here, cleaning up litter comprised of this nonsense. WHY. WHY. WHY!?!?!? i don’t drink soda, but since i was a child, i’ve obsessively cut those rings wherever i’ve gone. thanks for the info on that fungus… fantastic news! thanks for spreading the word.

    • Deanna says:

      That’s awesome that volunteers go out and clean up the beaches. We have a spring clean up here organized by one of the local environmental organizations, EcoSuperior.

      Today I will be speaking to 300 students at a local middle school and I’ll be sharing with them the dangers of these rings and a couple other kinds and we’ll be cutting them up!

      Until we can stop their production–these ‘dangerous disposable devices’–at least some more people will become aware of them and hopefully they’ll take action too!

      • FeyGirl says:

        SO wonderful for you to be speaking publicly — especially to children — on this issue. But you’re right, until we stop their production, grrr. I have a post in “drafts” right now on the dangers of balloons, and the destruction they ensue on marine life. It’s tragic.

  6. Pingback: Dangerous Disposable Device #2 | e~musing things

  7. Sukhbir Bachhal says:

    So I would like you to know I have designed a 6 pack ring that marine life and water birds won’t be able to stick there head through even if they wanted to plus 99% accidents reduction will come and without changing there packing machine method at all of the companies, how do you get the companies to listen. Any ideas.The design is patent pending.

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Sukhbir, That sounds like a better design. Potentially an environmental org might be interested to help promote it but I don’t know which one. One thing that comes to mind still is that if it is plastic it would likely break down and put particles in the water that look like food. This is a huge problem with the plastic in the lakes and oceans. The little pieces look like food. Alternatively, it could be eaten whole by a larger animal or fish. Is it made of something like cornstarch or sugar which I understand will then biodegrade? That might work. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing!

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