‘Ooho,’ Tiny Edible Water Blob, Could Be A Major Solution To Plastic Bottle Waste
From Mother Nature Network’s Bryan Nelson:
What’s one solution to the growing problem of plastic water bottle waste? A trio of Spanish design students think they have the answer, and it involves creating a “water bottle” that you can eat, reports Co.Exist.
Designers Rodrigo García González, Guillaume Couche and Pierre Paslier call their creation “Ooho,” a gelatinous blob that is actually a membrane that encapsulates water like a bladder. When you’re thirsty, just puncture the membrane and drink. Or, if you also have an appetite, just pop a bite-sized Ooho in your mouth and chomp down for a burst of hydration. The gooey membrane, made from brown algae and calcium chloride, is edible, hygienic and biodegradable.
The Ooho globule is formed through a process called “spherification,” a methodology first pioneered in 1946 and still utilized by some chefs in modern cuisine. Water is frozen into ice before being encapsulated to ease the process and prevent the water from mixing with the membrane ingredients. The bag-like containers are also incredibly cheap — each one costs just 2 cents to make, and they could even be concocted at home.
“Anyone can make them in their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe,” said co-designer García. “It’s not DIY but CIY — cook it yourself.”
Similar products have already made it to the market; an edible food delivery system called WikiPearl is available at select Whole Foods markets. Ooho is the first such container designed specifically for replacing water bottles, however.
One immediate use for the Ooho water containers could be for running sports events. Runners often hydrate by grabbing paper cups from spectators as they run, creating a lot of trash. Ooho offers an waste-free alternative; it could even be infused with electrolytes to give competitors an athletic edge.
The design was a winner of the second annual Lexus Design Award and will also be featured during Milan Design Week. You can view users testing out the Ooho water containers in the following video by Fast Company: [video]
This Edible Blob Is A Water Bottle Without The Plastic
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Adele Peters is a writer who focuses on sustainability and design and lives in Oakland, California. She’s worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.
Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, the Ooho is a magical way to have your bottled water and eat it, too. Just maybe bring a towel. One way to stop the ever-growing pile of plastic water bottles in landfills? Make a bottle people can eat.
Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, three London-based industrial design students created Ooho, a blob-like water container that they say is easy and cheap to make, strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and edible.
The container holds water in a double membrane using “spherification,” the technique of shaping liquids into spheres first pioneered in labs in 1946 and more recently popularized by chefs at elBulli in Spain. It works a little like an egg yolk, which also holds its shape using a thin membrane.
“We’re applying an evolved version of spherification to one of the most basic and essential elements of life–water,” says Rodrigo García González, who designed the Ooho with fellow design students Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche.
A compound made from brown algae and calcium chloride creates a gel around the water. “The double membrane protects the inside hygienically, and makes it possible to put labels between the two layers without any adhesive,” García explains.
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.
Why not just drink from the tap? The designers wanted to address the fact that most people are drinking water in disposable bottles. “The reality is that more and more, when we drink water we throw away a plastic bottle,” García says. “Eighty percent of them are not recycled. This consumerism reflects the society in which we live.”
By rethinking the bottle, the designers say it’s also possible to reduce cost; for manufacturers, most of the cost of producing water comes from the bottle itself. The Ooho can be made for just two cents.
Like other edible packages, the Ooho seems to have a few challenges–like how the package stays clean before you drink from it and potentially eat it. But others have made it to market: the edible Wikipearl will be available at selected Whole Foods this month. The other problem, as you can see from the videos, is that you’re going to get some water on your face, clothes, and the table. That’s the sacrifice you make for getting rid of water bottles from your life.
Even if bottled water companies don’t switch to Ooho, the designers say they hope people will try making the packages at home. “Anyone can make them in their kitchen, modifying and innovating the recipe,” says García. “It’s not DIY but CIY–cook it yourself.”
The design was a winner of the second annual Lexus Design Award and will be on display during Milan Design Week.
Categories: Ocean GREAT IDEAS