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. Though 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 were cited as a particularly dangerous form of marine litter as marine wildlife were found entangled in the rings, sometimes strangling to death. But since 1989, all six-pack rings around the world have been manufactured to be 100 percent photo-degradable, so the plastic will begin to disintegrate in just a few weeks, allowing animals to easily free themselves from the brittle and crumbling rings. This is in accordance with the US Federal regulation for testing plastic photo-degradation, which is 40 CFR Ch. I (7–1–03 Edition) PART 238. In 2016, SaltWater Brewery developed edible rings that sea-creatures could consume safely.
- ITW History Archived 2012-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
- "Interest In Multipacks Picks Up". Food & Beverage Packaging. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "40 CFR Ch I." (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- Whittaker, G. Clay (May 19, 2016). "Edible Six-Pack Rings Could Make The Ocean Safe Again". Popular Science. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- Roy, Jessica (May 25, 2016). "Microbrewery's edible six-pack rings create eco-friendly alternative to plastic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- "Should you cut up six-pack rings so they don't choke sea birds?". The Straight Dope. 1999-07-16. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Louisiana Fisheries - Fact Sheets". Seagrantfish.lsu.edu. Retrieved 2010-09-15.