Only about 23 percent of the 50 billion water bottles that Americans consume every year are recycled; what to do with the remaining billions of discarded bottles poses a major environmental problem — but what if we could just … eat them? A creative team in London has made edible water bottles, and, although they are still in development, the innovative containers could eventually do a lot to staunch the flood of plastic waste currently pouring from U.S. consumers. The edible bottle, called “Ooho,” was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab, a startup founded by Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Guillaume Couche and Pierre Paslier.
The Ooho doesn’t look like a traditional water bottle; in fact, the edible container looks like (to use a technical term) a blob. It's made through a process based on a cooking technique called “spherification.” According to the Smithsonian, making the Ooho begins with dipping a frozen ball of water into a calcium chloride solution. The solution creates a “gelatinous layer,” and then the ball is “soaked in another solution made from brown algae extract, which encapsulate[s] the ice in a second squishy membrane to reinforce the structure.” The result us a clear, wobbly sphere, which Gonzalez compares to a jellyfish or breast implant.
People can drink from the Ooho by sucking out the water and leaving the skin behind or eating it. The skin is edible, and apparently doesn’t carry much flavor, though Gonzalez admits to the Smithsonian that some people have a problem with the bottle’s gelatinous texture. There are still some practical issues to work out before the Ooho is ready for wide consumption, including figuring out how to make the outer membrane re-sealable. However, having recently taken home a sustainability award worth 22,500 dollars from the EU, the Ooho appears to have a bright future ahead. See the edible bottle in action below: