SCIENCE & TECH BLOG
London startup Skipping Rocks Lab has developed a package of the future, which can become an excellent replacement for plastic cups, bags, and bottles.
"Pollution from oil and gas development, toxic runoff, and miles and miles of plastic trash foul the waters and threaten marine life." Frances Beinecke
50 years ago plastic materials were considered the future of progress, but today they are recognized as the main threat to ecology. During this short period for mankind, the usage of plastics lead to the originating of an incredible number of landfills that pollute our living space. Real islands of plastic waste are formed in seas and oceans. The thing is, plastic cannot decompose quickly. This process takes at least four to five hundred years.
British company Skipping Rocks Lab offered to produce seaweed-based water spheres. This material is cheaper than plastic, it is easily decomposed by microorganisms and is so safe that if desired it can be eaten.
Water blobs «Ooho!» can surely be called revolutionary in the sphere of plastic bottles. They are created by packing a small amount of drinking water in an edible membrane. If desired, you can skip eating the membrane and throw it away without being afraid to pollute the environment. It decomposes in 4-6 weeks, like any natural fruit.
The creators of "Ooho!" are experts from the London laboratory Skipping Rocks Lab. They developed an innovative process that allows the production of bio-degradable water capsules at a lower price than that of a conventional plastic bottle.
They were inspired by the principles of molecular gastronomy. A thin membrane that retains another substance was first created in 1946, and the idea gained popularity thanks to the chefs of the famous Spanish restaurant El Bulli. By the same principle, the yolk is separated from the white in the egg - a thin plastic film retains the yolk form.
The Ooho project uses a gel-like bag of calcium chloride and sodium alginate, produced from brown algae. To make a container with water blob-like, first the water is frozen, and then the ice is wrapped with a double layer of the gel membrane. At each stage of production there is a choice - to make a blob large or small, to freeze water or juice, etc.
Like many other projects, edible packaging of Ooho has several issues that need to be considered. For example, how to keep the membrane clean before you start drinking or before its possible consumption.
Even now, while the technology for full-fledged "Ooho!" usage is not yet perfect, it is already gives all possibilities to abandon a plastic bottle.
According to the creators, the new way of water storage will not only contribute to improving the environment but also significantly reduce the cost of bottled water. After all, 90% of the price for a plastic water bottle is the cost of plastic, and the water itself costs about 10%, while "Ooho!" can be produced for 2 cents only.