“Think outside of the bottle” – These are the promising words of wisdom from an innovative start-up called Skipping Rocks Lab in London. A group of researchers and business developers whose goal is to make product packaging obsolete invented an edible water bottle which could help us to solve our problem of increasing environmental pollution triggered by plastic waste. In the coming year, the “Ooho water balls” will be introduced into the European market.

Frightful, but true:

By the year 2050 it is estimated that there could be more plastic than fishes in the oceans. Every year, eight million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans. Yes, that truly is the annual amount.

  • This corresponds to about one garbage truck per minute, which is emptied into the sea.
  • Plastic – next to bags mainly plastic bottles (disposable and reusable bottles) makes up to 80 percent of the waste in the world’s oceans.
  • The most famous garbage-sea – the „Great Pacific Garbage Patch“ is in the North Pacific Ocean. It now has the size of Central Europe and it steadily continues to grow.
  • According to the German Federal Environmental Agency, plastic bottles require up to 450 years for complete decomposition.

What if we could replace plastic bottles with something more environmentally friendly – even something edible?

An approach to replace plastic bottles is an innovative idea from England, called “Ooho”. A young company called “Skipping Rocks Lab” has recently presented an edible, biodegradable solution for replenishing liquids such as water – water encased inside an edible container made using seaweed. All the customer must do, to quench his/her thirst, is to poke a hole in the surface layer or, better still, to pop the entire tasteless blob in their mouth. But the “Ooho” bubble can do much more: not only plastic bottles could be replaced – the water balls can encapsulate any beverage including water, soft drinks, spirits or even cosmetics.

So far so good – but how does it work?

The creators, who have been working on the Ooho bubble since 2014, use a simple two-step culinary process called spherification to create the ingenious bowl. They begin by immersing a frozen ball of water or juice into a calcium chloride solution. This helps to form a gelatinous layer around the liquid. The ball is then soaked in a solution made from brown algae extract. This creates a second layer, helping to reinforce the structure so that the water or juice does not leak.

The special features:

Of course, this innovative idea could improve our environmental situation a lot. But not only that, the cost of a biodegradable package is just two cents per bubble, which also makes it a lot cheaper to manufacture than plastic.

A future changing innovation or nothing but nonsense?

The “Ooho-water-ball” is a great step in the right direction to find a remedy for environmental problems triggered by plastic. If the plastic-bottle replacement is successful and can take off our environmental situation will benefit a lot and it will solve many problems, we are currently dealing with. The material is, as mentioned before, edible and biodegradable.
However, before it can become a serious contender to plastic bottles “Ooho” has to overcome some obstacles first.
In addition to getting used to the unusual texture of the tasteless covering, each edible bubble contains just a gulp of water. This requires consumers to drink multiple water balls to slake their thirst. Another issue to deal with is the finding of an eco-friendly packaging to transport the bubbles so that they don’t burst and that they remain clean. Last but not least, it must be admitted that popping an Ooho bubble into the mouth is not the most elegant way to drink water or juice considering that the liquid can splatter.
Hopefully, the creators will find ways to combat these issues so that we can reduce or perhaps even eliminate plastic bottles in near future.

Zur Person: Annika Amann studiert an der European Management School in Mainz.

Dieser Artikel hat 9 Kommenatre

  1. Julia Herrhammer

    Hey Annika! I have read about that innovation some weeks ago but I just skimmed it quickly. This invention is just unbelievable. It could definitely change the world perspective or at least helps to improve the prevention of littering our world. In addition to all the aspects you have listed about negative facts plastic produces I want to add that the plastic packaging also dispenses toxic chemicals to everything which is touched by it: food, liquids, medicaments, cosmetics etc.
    If they really develop the product that far that it can replace all packaging one day, that would be awesome! Although there will be some problems to solve, as you said like transportation, the way of using the ‘Ohoo-water-balls’ etc., this will be a great success in Europe.

  2. When I read the headline, I was really surprised and immediately wanted to know how this crazy bottle is produced and how it works. I realized that I have seen those water bubbles on Facebook before but I did not know much about them. The price of the packaging is really surprising I assumed that it is probably much more expensive than the regular bottles. But as you also mentioned at this stage of development it is no substantial competition for water out of regular bottles. However I think that it is a good start for a change and maybe the founders are able to improve their current product to make it more practicable for the daily use.

  3. Moritz Wellershaus

    Everybody has heard of that rumor that somewhere in the pacific there is an island of plastic swimming and growing steadily. This must be true, if you just imagine that a plastic bottle needs 450 years to decompose. At the end of all days, it has to land in the seas. This is a real problem, as Annika mentioned, that until 2050 there could be more plastic products in the oceans than fish. I find this very shocking and disappointing.
    Luckily there are people who “think outside the bottle”. Ooho is a breakthrough to solve this worldwide concerning problem. Putting water into an edible membrane that behaves like plastic firstly sounds strange, but it has potential and perspective.
    I lived in Nigeria for seven years and the idea of water in bubbles to drink from already exists there. Unfortunately the ball is made of plastic and still harms our environment, rather then helping it.
    As the invention is already on its way entering the European market, I am very curious about the reactions the Europeans and especially Germans will have. Ooho has many advantages: the environmental aspect, the costs for materials and production and the producing possibilities that come with it. It also should be possible to fit other drinks into the bubble.
    Due to the good thoughts behind it, I believe Ooho has great potential establishing itself quickly in the societies and could help reduce the plastic consumption and maybe even stop plastic from being indispensable.
    I would definitely like to try an Ooho bubble and I will if they achieve the German market.

  4. Hey Annika,
    I think OOHO is a really nice and innovative invention for the future.
    The fact, that eight million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean (yearly!) did really shock me.

    It’s a pity that this kind of edible water bubble is invented not until now while we are so much more advanced and progressed in any other and mostly technological way.
    Actually, it should have been invented many years earlier, it is cheaper to produce, thoroughly ecological and easy to use.
    It’s perfect for hydration on the go, such like marathons, festivals or just on the streets.

    Although I’m convinced from the bubbles I think that it still must happen a lot to establish it more on the worldwide market.
    Especially the German Market is a tough one due to the fact that there are returnable bottles existing which helps reducing the plastic rubbish already.

  5. Due to the fact, that I had also dealt with the topic of environmental pollution, I already knew some of the facts mentioned above.
    Nevertheless, it still bothers me every time to read these extremly shocking figures.
    The idea of providing a solution to the existing problem and, at the same time time, offering a prevention is akin to the concept of „Seabin“, but has a slightly different approach.
    Innovation like „the floating garbage can“ would not be necessary, if there was not any plastic, that might swim in the ocean or generally pollutes the environment.
    This new approach is promising, even though there are some problems, like a not yet existing eco-friendly packaging.
    In my opinion, this is not an insolvable issue and it will just be a matter of time, until there will be a matching solution.

  6. It was very shocking to read, how much plastic waste is caused annually. After all, using and recycling plastic starts with every single one of us. Everyone uses plastic on a daily basis and often more than necessary. Of course, plastic bottles are very convenient because they are cheap and light. However, how truly harmful they were for the environment was never really clear to me. Considering that we use plastic bottles for a very short period of time, 450 years they need to decompose is a shockingly long period of time. And even though we do have the chance to “recycle” plastic bottles by returning used plastic bottles, we don’t actually contribute to reducing plastic waste by doing so. This is where an innovation like the “Ooho” bottle could be the solution. I must admit, the thought of eating my water bottle after drinking is a bit weird. Nevertheless, the fact that the bottle is made from a biodegradable material sounds very promising. And even if maybe now the idea of eating your water bottle may sound strange, I really can imagine the “Ooho-water-ball” to be one of the next big solutions when attempting to reduce plastic waste in the future.

  7. Maximilian Lenhardt

    I also read about those water bubbles and found it quite interesting. The environmental friendliness in terms of eating your water bottle is a huge advantage over plastic bottles, even though it sounds awkward. Plus, production is much cheaper.

    The only things I’m still struggling with are one, the transportation in a bag for example, because the shell still looks quite fragile. And two, the fact that each bubble only contains one pull of water, even though it is reasonable, because a 1,5 litre water bubble would be very bulky and it would be more or less impossible to transport or even to drink out of it.
    Is there any possibility to make these bubbles bigger so that they can contain half a litre of water? Or will they stay one-gulp-size and you just have to eat/drink several bubbles in order to satisfy your thirst?

    But all in all I agree that the Ooho water bubbles are a smart and serious innovation, espacially in terms of environmental friendliness.

  8. I never heard about this innovation before. There are a lot of ideas to solve the problem of excessive use of plastic and our throwaway culture. However, I think this is a very realistic step towards starting to reduce and, hopefully, totally eliminating the production of plastic bottles. As a lot of people want to invest into saving the environment, this idea should get definitely more attention. Through this, the company may get help from people who can help solving problems, which they still have to overcome with their environmentally friendly water bottles.
    Since there are so many innovations and ideas to save the environment by reducing and eliminating plastic bottles, companies should definitely cooperate and help each other as this may increase the number of people living a sustainable lifestyle.

  9. A great innovation and a good idea. I already heard something about „Ooho“ on a reportage on the TV and was fascinated.
    On TV, they only mentioned the water bubble and that they could be interesting for marathons, because the runner just have to put them in their mouth and plop it during the run, which is easier than to carry a bottle.
    Only through your blog I noticed, like you mentioned, that these bubbles could replace more than just plastic bottles. Moreover, that it helps environmental problems it is so cheap. Two cents per bubble, this is incredible!
    Of course, this innovation is still on their first steps, but I hope, they will overcome the issues you mentioned and innovate the „Ooho“ as far as possible, because in my opinion, this could change everything and solve the huge problem pollution on more than one way.

Schreiben Sie einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.

*