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Ooho: firm invents sustainable seaweed-based water 'bottles' that you can eat

Published 24/09/2015

Do you ever get sick of carrying your water bottle around in your bag? Well, that could soon be a thing of the past thanks to London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab.

More blob than bottle, Ooho (which isn't yet available to the public) is a whole new kind of packaging — it's made from seaweed, it costs around a penny per container to make, and it's edible.

Ooho's biodegradeable water packaging made from seaweed has won an EU award for sustainable products. Photograph: Guillaume Couche/PR
Ooho's biodegradeable water packaging made from seaweed has won an EU award for sustainable products. Photograph: Guillaume Couche/PR

The blob, which looks a little like a silicone implant, is intended to replace petroleum-based plastic water bottles.

How does it actually work?

To make one, a blob of water is frozen then coated with a transparent, dual-layer membrane made from calcium chloride and a seaweed derivative called sodium alginate.

The scientists behind Skipping Rocks Lab then looked to fruit as inspiration for ways of carrying the liquid.

The smaller spheres use double membranes to keep the water inside. For larger amounts, they can be packed together like the inside of an orange segment.

When it's done, the water is held in the bag, and you just take a bite to drink it.

The makers dub Ooho "water you can eat" and it won a €20,000 European sustainability award at the start of the month.

"At the end of the day, you don’t have to eat it," creator Pierre Paslier told the Guardian.

"But the edible part shows how natural it is. People are really enthusiastic about the fact that you can create a material for packaging matter that is so harmless that you can eat it."

And one of the most important parts of bottled water - the branding that people use to show off their good taste - can also be applied, by putting a label between the dual layers of the spherical membrane.

While this format isn’t exactly the best replacement for a sturdy water bottle, Ooho is definitely a step in the right direction.

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