U.S. consumers alone use almost 50 billion plastic water bottles annually. Of that number, less than a quarter of these bottles end up being recycled. Water, the fundamental life-giving element of human survival is a major contributor to the destruction of our environment when in bottled form. Fortunately, modern innovation could make plastic bottles and containers a thing of the past. A startup company based in London has created Ooho! the edible water bubble.
This biodegradable option works by encasing drinking water inside of a soft, edible membrane made from natural seaweed extract. Using a process called spherification, drinking water is combined with sodium alginate (brown seaweed).
Then, small portions are placed into a calcium lactate (an ingredient found in gum and cheese) bath where the thin, gelatinous casing begins to take shape around the liquid center. Alas, you end up with a nice, neat, refreshing bubble of H2O.
Since its membrane is 100% edible, people can either eat the entire bubble or take a small bite, drink the liquid inside and toss the exterior.
Ooho! offers eco-friendly packaging solutions
The creators of the edible water bubble, Skipping Rocks Lab is a team of engineers who according to their website, “will revolutionize the water-on-the-go market.” Their main focus is to create innovative and sustainable packaging solutions with low-impacts on the environment. Their website claims,
Ooho’s spherical, flexible packaging can also be used for other liquids including water, soft drinks, spirits and cosmetics, and our proprietary material is actually cheaper than plastic.
It’s exciting to think that many manufacturers could extend this packaging to condiments and other possibilities. Imagine splatting a blob of mustard on that hot dog.
The plastic bottle crisis
Though the blob may closely resemble a breast implant, the eco-friendly impacts of the invention could prove to be quite useful.
The average water bottle takes hundreds of years to fully decompose, while the edible water bubble’s plant-based exterior naturally biodegrades within 4-6 weeks. Plastic bottles and caps are a major issue for the environment in general.
According to onegreenplanet.org,
Plastic bottle tops are currently not recyclable and often end up at the bottom of the ocean, and in the stomachs of a variety of animal species that mistake them for food.
The majority of plastic bottles are not recycled, which means that they lay in landfills or emit chemicals into the ground and nearby water sources.
Not to mention, plastic bottles require millions of barrels of oil per year, as well as 2-3 times the amount of water to make the bottle as it does to put inside of the bottle through the water purification process. The water globule however, costs only 2 cents per unit to produce.
As of now, the team has been running a serious of crowdfunding projects to raise funds in order increase production. If things go according to plan, their edible liquid bubbles will hit the market within the next year.