Would you throw your water bottle if you’d have the possibility to eat it? From this unusual idea appeared Ooho. The packaging is made of brown algae, sodium polymannuronate, and calcium brine, and it is shaped as a gelatin sphere.
Created by a trio of design students from London – Rodrigo García González, Couche Guillaume, and Pierre Paslier – Ooho appears as a clever alternative, whose aim is to reduce the production of plastic packaging.
The invention is one of the 12 declared winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award competition.
The gelatinous bubble is formed through a process called “gelification”, a method used for the first time in 1946, and currently used by some chefs to transform liquids into a gel. This process is done by freezing the water and sealing the ice cubes in the gelatin membrane. So, anyone can make this water “bubble” at home, requiring only the two ingredients mentioned above.
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Ooho is inspired by the liquids’ property to form, spontaneously, spherical drops due to the superficial tension. Ooho, as its creators Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier, and Guillaume Couche say simulate this behavior, enwrapping the liquids in an edible membrane, as do citrus fruits like orange, lemon, grapefruit, consisting of a compound extracted from algae.
The resulted packaging protects well the inside liquid, it is easy to obtain, durable, hygienic, biodegradable, and very cheap: each such package costs about 2 US dollar cents.
Not only that the Ooho is biodegradable, but is also much cheaper than producing a plastic water bottle. So, the entire production of an edible water bubble, Ooho, including the energy costs for freezing the water, costs about 2 cents, while the cost for a plastic bottle of water reaches 10 cents.
Recently, they won a 20,000€ (about $22,368) investment from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, an amount that went to different companies that can manufacture different biodegradable materials.
When you are thirsty, you simply pierce the membrane and drink the inside water. The bravest and less skeptical can swallow the “bubble”, entirety because Ooho is edible, hygienic, and biodegradable. The friendly environmental packaging requires less expensive production costs than for PET.
Regarding labeling, the label can be placed between the two layers, of the double membrane, without needing glue, and it can also be edible, if it is made of paper rice, for instance.
One of Ooho’s creators, Rodrigo García González, said that about 50% of the water plastic bottles we throw are not recycled, consumption that reflects the society we live in.
Like any newborn project, Ooho also has some weaknesses:
• the difficulty to keep the edible water “bubble” clean and hygienic until its consumption;
• high possibility of getting wet on both the face and clothes when you break the membrane.
This is the future. It’s no point to ask ourselves if this will be a great invention for the average working Joe because we all know that it is time for a big change. Plastic continues to do a lot of damage to our earth and it’s time to use technology to our advantage. A biodegradable bottle that can be eaten could help us all.