Back in 2015, we reported on an idea that could change the world – an alternative to the plastic bottle. Two years later, that simple idea has been developed into a functional product that is set to hit the market sometime within the next year or so.
In 2013, only about a third of the plastic bottles used in the US were recycled. To put it simply, we are using too many plastic bottles, and ultimately wasting too much water manufacturing them. Estimates suggest that it takes about 3 liters of water to package 1 liter of bottled water. Considering the Earth’s supply of fresh water is being depleted at an alarming rate, the regular use of plastic bottles is simply not sustainable.
While there are a couple of products already on the market that provide an alternative to bottled water – such as environmentally friendly water filters and reusable water bottles, this new alternative goes one step further. How? You might ask. Well, once you have finished drinking, you can eat the container.
Made entirely from plants and seaweed, this squishy orb of water is 100 percent edible and is compostable and biodegradable in about 4-6 weeks. This water bottle alternative is called Ooho, and is the brainchild of engineers at Skipping Rocks Lab. They have been working to perfect the design since 2014, with the help of a crowdfunding page.
The engineers’ target for the project was about $500,000 (£400,000), which they quickly met and exceeded. They have now raised over $1 million (£799,990). The first round of crowdfunding closed on the 13th of April. With this achievement, Ooho is set to hit the market within the next year and, according to sources, will be cheaper than a plastic bottle.
The Ooho sphere is made from a double gelatinous membrane, constructed from a mixture of sodium alginate, taken from brown algae, and calcium chloride. The spheres are created using a cooking technique called spherification, which transforms liquid into gel with the help of an edible gelling agent. A number of other popular products on the market are made using the same method, including fake roe that you may find on sushi or the bubbles in bubble tea.
— Anon.Dos (@anondos_) August 20, 2015
Each Ooho holds a single serving of water and is used by puncturing a hole in the outer sachet and pouring the water right into your mouth. Alternatively, due to the edible packaging, consumers can also simply put the whole sphere in their mouths and bite down on the bubble to release the water and eat the Jello-like encasing. Skipping Rocks Lab are able to make the orbs in different sizes, but will continue to keep them small so they can be easily consumed.
In the future, Ooho can be developed further so the gelatin orb can hold a range of different liquid products, including soft drinks, juice, alcohol, and even makeup. The sphere itself can also be colored and flavored, making the product both more appealing and tasty. The company aims to make plastic bottles obsolete with its innovative alternative, and expects their product will be particularly popular with endurance athletes and festival-goers.
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