End of the water bottle? Edible algae ‘balloon’ could cut plastic waste

0
Victoria Woollaston

To solve the rising number of plastic bottles filling up landfills around the world, a trio of designers has created an alternative – a container made from an edible algae balloon.

Called Ooho, the spheres can be produced in different sizes, hygienically protect the liquid inside, and cost just 2 cents (less than a penny) each.

The design was recently crowned one of 12 winners of the second annual Lexus Design Award and is due to go on sale in Boston later this year.

 End of the water bottle Edible algae 'balloon' could cut plastic waste

Ooho, pictured, has a double gelatinous membrane created using sodium alginate and calcium chloride. The spheres are created using gelification – a technique used in cooking to turn liquids into gel – and its creators said the final package is ‘cheap, hygienic and biodegradable’

HOW IS THE OOHO MADE?

The Ooho sphere has a double gelatinous membrane.

It is made using a mixture of sodium alginate, taken from brown algae, and calcium chloride.

The spheres are created using gelification – a technique used in cooking to turn liquids into gel by adding an edible gelling agent.

The inventors experimented with various spherification techniques, using different ingredients and proportions, before settling on the Ooho final ‘recipe’.

Packaging labels can be added to the Ooho, between the two layers, without adhesive, and are edible too, if they’re made from rice paper, for example.

‘Liquid forms drops because the liquid exhibits surface tension,’ said Ooho’s creators Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, ‘Bounded completely or almost completely by free surfaces.

‘Ooho replicates this behaviour, encircling the water in an edible membrane of algae.

‘It is a new way of packaging that proposes an alternative to the plastic bottle.’

The Ooho sphere has a double gelatinous membrane made up of sodium alginate, taken from brown algae, and calcium chloride.

The spheres are created using gelification – a technique used in cooking to turn liquids into gel by adding an edible gelling agent.

Gonzalez said the final package is ‘simple, resistant, hygienic, biodegradable and even edible.’

The double membrane hygienically protects the liquid inside and can be expanded for different sized Oohos, pictured. The inventors experimented with various spherification techniques, using different ingredients and proportions, before settling on the Ooho final 'recipe'

The double membrane hygienically protects the liquid inside and can be expanded for different sized Oohos, pictured. The inventors experimented with various spherification techniques, using different ingredients and proportions, before settling on the Ooho final ‘recipe’

Around 50 billion water bottles are produced each year, and many end up in landfills, stock image pictured. The Ooho was designed as an alternative to these bottles in a bid to reduce waste and the impact plastic production has on the environment

Around 50 billion water bottles are produced each year, and many end up in landfills, stock image pictured. The Ooho was designed as an alternative to these bottles in a bid to reduce waste and the impact plastic production has on the environment

The inventors experimented with various spherification techniques, using different ingredients and proportions, before settling on the Ooho final ‘recipe’.

This double membrane, continued the designers, hygienically protects the liquid inside and can be expanded for different sized Oohos.

Packaging labels can be added between the two layers without adhesive, and are edible too if they’re made from rice paper, for example.

‘Nowadays only big companies have the infrastructure to manufacture packaging,’ continued Gonzalez.

‘The main idea of Ooho is that everyone could make them at their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe. From DIY to CIY (Cook It Yourself).’

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