Photo: Fast Company
There is hope yet for our catastrophic single-use plastic water bottle problem. Introducing: the Ooho ball– what you may know trending now as the “edible water bottle.” These hydrating spheres have been in the works since 2013 and are now finally produced by the British startup Skipping Rocks Lab from Fast Company.
The product completely edible, and the outer jelly shell is made of tasteless biodegradable seaweeds. Many fans like popping the sphere in their mouths, and others prefer to puncture the outer membrane, sip from the drinking vessel, and leave it to biodegrade.
In 2013, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles. And globally, we use an overwhelming 17 million barrels of oil annually just for bottles– enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year (not even including the oil used for transportation). Could this edible blob be a sustainable end to this madness?
How It’s Made
Ooho, mentioned above, is made possible by seaweeds used as its membrane. The edible bottle’s membrane was composed through spherification which includes sodium alginate from seaweed and calcium chloride.
These blobs are made through spherification, which shapes liquids into spheres. As Fast Company describes it: “A compound made from brown algae and calcium chloride creates a gel around the water…While the package is being formed, the water is frozen as ice, making it possible to create a bigger sphere and keeping the ingredients in the membrane and out of the water.” These little gems only cost 2 cents to make, which makes them not only super cool and eco friendly, but affordable too.
REALLY the end of Single-use Bottles?
Short answer: It depends who you ask. It’s hard to agree with TIME’s statement, “this edible water blob could replace plastic water bottles.”
We are addicted to the convenience of plastic water bottles and these little balls still have a few kinks they need to work out. I, along with many internet users, are excited to see the process and product that the innovators at Skipping Rocks Lab will produce.