This New Edible Container Could Change the Way We Drink Water

It’s no secret that plastic water bottles are an environmentalist’s nightmare. The United States uses over 50 million plastic bottles every year—and 80% of them aren’t recycled. 

There’s been a significant push recently to do away with disposable plastic bottles in favor of reusable ones, but now, industrial design students at the Imperial College London have introduced an even better solution: edible water bottles—er, bubbles.

The team, comprised of Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier, and Guillaume Couche, has been working on this waste-free concept since 2014, and have finally unveiled Ooho, essentially an edible blob filled with water.

So how do you use it?

Simple: just pop the whole thing in your mouth. Or, if the weird egg yolk-like membrane freaks you out, you can poke a hole in the bubble and slurp out the water inside. 

The scientific process behind making the bubbles is simple. It’s called spherification, and all you have to do is create a double layer membrane by dropping a ball of ice into a calcium chloride solution, and then transferring it into a brown algae extract solution.

This two-step process is how the gelatinous layer around the water is formed, and apparently it’s leak-proof, biodegradable, and costs just 2 pennies to produce. 

There are a lot of kinks to work out before you can pick up Ooho at your local grocery store. If consumers can overcome the weird texture of the membrane, they’ll still have to figure out how to consume a bubble without it splattering everywhere. Plus, packaging is an issue—how will manufacturers transport and sell these bubbles?

And just one bubble won’t quench your thirst—you’ll need a big handful to make up an 8 or 12 ounce glass. 

While the product isn’t perfect, it sounds like the Ooho is a step in the right direction away from cumbersome, environment-wrecking plastic bottles.