What's one solution to the growing problem of plastic water bottle waste? A trio of Spanish designers think they have the answer, and it involves creating a "water bottle" that you can eat.
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. It has no taste, though the designers say flavors can be added.
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," co-designer García told Fast Company. "It's not DIY but CIY — cook it yourself."
Watch thirsty (and sometimes skeptical) folks try Ooho water containers in this video:
The design was a winner of the second annual Lexus Design Award. Skipping Rocks Lab in the U.K., which makes the Ooho globule, recently launched a crowdfunding effort to bring the product to the market. They hoped to raise about $500,000 and surpassed that goal with more than $797,000 raised (as of this writing) with a few weeks left to go in the fundraising campaign.
Watch the designers talk about their invention in this video:
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.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was originally published in March 2014.