Ooho: Staying Green with an Edible Water Bottle
Written by Ryan Hackland
Water: It’s essential to every living thing on earth. You drink it, you bathe in it and ¾ of your body is made of it. Now you can carry it in your pocket thanks to Ooho, the edible water bottle invented by Rodrigo Garcia-Gonzalez and fellow design students at London Imperial College. The sphere-shaped water bottle is so small it can fit in the palm of your hand – and you can eat it too.
The Ooho water bottle’s simple design consists of an outer shell composed of brown algae and calcium chloride. The shell forms a bubble containing potable water. The process used to encapsulate the water is called Spherification: blobs of ice are dipped in the liquefied algae and calcium chloride. The results resemble caviar or tapioca balls. The concept has existed since the 40’s but has been made popular by Catalan Chef, Ferran Adria. Adria created spherical foods based on traditional recipes. He provided an experience where diners would enjoy their favorite cuisine in large gelatinous spheres that would burst with flavor. Gonzalez admired Adria’s idea, and used it to design the first edible water bottle. All one has to do with the Ooho is pierce it with a straw and start drinking. If your both hungry and thirsty you can bite into the algae membrane and slurp up the water and ingest the outer shell all in one go. Though the algae core may look unappetizing, it is perfectly digestible. Ooho is not the first product to use a consumable shell. The Wiki Pearl is an item with a similar design, but contains food instead of water. Despite Ooho’s eccentric design, it could make quite a splash with consumers in the years to come. Though some people may not be convinced or simply think Ooho is too strange to catch on, consider this.
Tap water is more accessible than its bottled counterpart. Yet, for some reason Americans purchase 4.6 billion plastic water bottles per year. This plastic bottle craze has far reaching consequences and has turned into an environmentally damaging, 61 billion dollar enterprise. 50 billion water bottles end up in landfills every year or 140 million every day. The amount of oil it takes to create a year’s supply of bottled water adds up to 17 million barrels; enough to fuel a million cars for an entire year. Each bottle is made using three times the amount of water used to fill it.
If that is not ridiculous enough, tap water is ten thousand times less expensive than bottled water. This makes no sense, since 40% of all bottled water originates from “municipal sources” a fancy term for our old friend, tap water.
The water bottle industry is using oil that could prevent a year’s worth of pain at the pump to manufacture bottles that take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Each individual bottle retails for about $1.12. Ooho is perfectly biodegradable, is made without using fossil fuels, and only 2 cents to produce. Water bottling plants bottle a third of the water needed to produce the actual bottles themselves. Ooho water bottles contain just the right amount and require minimal water to produce the shell. It can even be made at home.
With more plastic bottles covering landfills every day, Ooho is the best way to say cheers to going green.