You've Probably Been Opening Those Plastic 6-Pack Rings Wrong

Any current or former athlete, from an NBA MVP to a playground all-star, knows that there is nothing worse than coming back to the bench tired, and struggling to yank a bottle of Gatorade out of its packaging. The thin plastic rings that hold 6 and 8-packs of drinks together are shockingly tough, and it turns out that many people have been extricating their refreshments completely wrong.

While common knowledge suggests that the quickest way to remove a bottle from a 6-pack is to pull on the bottle and plastic rings in opposite directions, it turns out that there is a far easier method to take out the bottles. The plastic rings have a pull tab that frees one bottle at a time, at the cost of minimal effort from the drinker. No longer do you have to fight to get a bottle of your favorite Gatorade flavor! Easy access is here.

The pull tab trick went viral

In late 2021, TikTok user @remyeasterling showed that the little loops on the corner of the Gatorade packaging have a purpose. When pulled, the loops glide across the side of the packaging, freeing one bottle at a time. And this hack goes well beyond sports drinks. Many bottles and cans are packaged in the same type of plastic rings.  

@remyeasterling

I have been doing everything wrong 😭 #gatorade #opening #lifehack #fyp #foryou

♬ original sound – Remy

This hack has been replicated many times since, and nearly two years later, it is still a stunning revelation. With the packaging tightly wrapped around the most narrow part of the bottles, people have been forced to exert as much energy pulling the bottle out of the packaging as they did playing their sport. (Or at least it feels that way!) But now, there's no need to struggle just to get a sip. The comments on the original TikTok ranged from amazed to disappointed, but all agreed that this method of opening plastic drink packaging is the best way to do it.

Does this save the turtles?

One of the top comments on the viral TikTok says "save the turtles," referring to the fact that, if disposed of improperly, plastic rings that are used to package cans and bottles can endanger marine wildlife. Pictures of marine animals ensnared by the tight-ringed plastic packaging are sure to jerk hearts, and one might ask, does this new hack help prevent plastic ring damage to animals?

In 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule that "plastic ring carriers (for bottles and cans) be made of degradable material." The rule passed in the following year, and has been in effect since. However, the rule does not specify how long the rings are allowed to take to degrade. One popular type of degradable rings — one that breaks down when exposed to light — takes upwards of three to four months to fall apart.

It turns out that these packages are easier to open and less damaging to the environment than one might think. Using the method to easily take out your drink will also make the plastic slightly more safe for marine animals, as it opens the holes up, leaving no loops intact that could trap animals.

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