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Safe disposal of 6-pack rings killers

The six-pack yokes or rings are a set of connected plastic rings that are used in multi-packs of beverage and beer cans in the USA. These are discarded carelessly by most Americans and even though you might put them in recycle cans (if your city has the facility like mine does), they somehow end up senselessly into the waters killing turtles, choking birds, and basically ruining our natural wildlife thanks to our nonchalant levity.

Here’s a typical six-pack yoke:

As you can decipher, each ring is about 2.25″-2.5″ diameter (they can be obviously stretched more as they are elastic, but that’s around their natural dimensions).

Now, my question to you: is it too much hassle for you to dispose of them safely? Are you too drunk to dispose of each 6-packs rings drink after drink and just leave them in trash or the beach and walk away? Shame on you! What if I told you that it doesn’t take effort at all to make them safely disposed! So, here’s a little quiz…how many cuts does it take to make the ring completely safe so that no creatures will choke on them?

Ok, now the wise guys say, yeah just burn the thing! Yes, it’ll melt, but you don’t do it! Besides the plastic melted is toxic air. Then another wise-guy group will ask: How big scissors can I use?

I’m glad you asked 🙂 At least now you want to help. For practical purposes, the scissors blades will about 4″ (inch) long and no more. A sample representation on the same scale as the ring above is shown below.

Okay then 🙂 Now that we have the parameters scoped out…how many cuts do you need to absolutely ensure that there is no enclosed ring left? Please comment in the blog.

I will respond with my solution but you may have even better solutions than mine, hence this query 🙂 Good luck, my fellow Earthlings!

My solution is posted below (scroll down).








My solution: The minimum number of cuts can be as low as 1. However, that’s not always reliable, mainly due to the fact that the “spine” also has smaller loops and to reliably cut both all the larger loops and the spine loops requires exact angular cut, which is not practical and inevitably most people won’t bother to do it! So my practical solution is only 2 cuts with a smallish pair of scissors. Here are the steps:

Step 1: fold the plastic ring into a single 8 shape
Step 2: Make one cut through the entire spine (it’s small enough for even a smallish pair of scissors)
Now we have 2 disjointed parts of tuples of 3 conneted loops each
Step 3: Fold each part into single circle (doesn’t have to be exactly aligned as we’re only interested in the outer edges) and pile the one bundle on top of the other (again, they don’t need to be perfectly aligned as long as you can get to all the outer rings of each part)
Step 4: Make one more cut for just the outer edges of the loops (no need to cut the top part)
Done! Final shape

Just after the 2nd cut, there are absolutely no complete loops left big or small. You can afford 2 cuts…so please do this easy part before disposing of them from now on. Thank you!

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