Ooho!, The Edible Water Blob - The Answer To Plastic Pollution
Plastic bottles are collecting in our oceans, and it’s increasing at an alarming rate. We are now producing nearly 330 million metric tons of new plastic every year, and half of this is only designed for single-use.
Skipping Rocks Lab based in London, U.K has developed the Ooho! in an effort to provide the convenience of plastic bottles while taking away its negative environmental impact.
The Edible Water Blob
Ooho!, the edible water blob looks like a gelatinous sphere and can be used daily to replace plastic bottles. Not only are they safe to consume, but they can also be composted because it is created from brown algae.
It’s a natural alternative to plastic bottled water made from seaweed and plants. It is entirely edible, so consumers can drink their water and then eat the container if they should wish to. Brown algae grow up to 1m per day, and it doesn’t compete with food crops. It also doesn’t need fresh water or fertilizer and actively contributes to de-acidifying our oceans.
Ooho! is completely biodegradable and degrades in just 4-6 weeks and degrades faster than other conventional PET alternatives that hang around for hundreds of years. Ooho’s developers estimate that their product requires one-ninth of the energy needed to produce PET bottles, and results in one-fifth of the CO2 emissions.
Ooho! is coloured and flavoured to encourage consumers to eat it rather than throwing it away. Ooho! ’s goals are to help the world get rid of and/or eliminate the one billion plastic bottles that reach our oceans of the world each year.
As we mentioned above, the container, which is an edible, gelatinous sphere, is made entirely of plants and seaweed. The top three reasons Skipping Rocks Lab decided to used seaweed for making Ooho! include:
- Seaweed is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world
- Seaweed naturally biodegrades quickly.
- Unlike other corn-based plastics, seaweed doesn’t compete with food crops.
Skipping Rocks Lab states that their proprietary material is cheaper than plastic. While plastic bottles need between 450-1,000 years to biodegrade, edible water bubbles only need six weeks on average.
To create the ooho edible water blobs, Skipping Rocks Lab uses a well-known culinary technique to produce these edible water bottles: spherification. In fact, it was this culinary technique that was the inspiration for the concept. Chef Ferran Adrià of the wildly famous elBulli restaurant in Spain is credited with popularizing the technique within modern cuisine.
These blobs are created by dipping frozen balls of liquid into an algae mixture that forms a membrane around the ice. Afterwards, the ice melts into liquid water and membrane (which is edible and biodegradable) and creates a watertight seal around it.
When drinking the liquid, you can either bite into the watery membrane and sip it out or simply just eat the entire ball, membrane and all!
Skipping Rocks Lab’s manufacturing process can produce several 1000+ of ooho edible water blobs ranging from 50ml to 250ml in a single day.
The ooho edible water blobs are the perfect hydration on-the-go product. They’re perfectly useful for music festivals, athletic events, and small street businesses.
According to the Independent, the London Marathon uses more than 750,000 plastic bottles. The good news is that Ooho! could partially or entirely replace this number of plastic bottles.
Ooho! is one of the smartest eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and from both a business and consumer’s standpoint, it embodies everything it needs to be a massive hit in the decades to come. Check out the video below to see the Ooho! In action:
The Future of Drinking Water
After watching that video, we can see why the Ooho! is perfectly suited for internet hype. It looks bizarre (in a good way), and it’s the no-plastic-needed concept that has turned Ooho into a bit of a viral sensation.
With the rise of public water-saving initiatives, and with the progression of advanced technology, we are more equipped than ever to fix our global water crisis. Skipping Rocks is currently fundraising online, having already doubled its target, with nearly 1,000 independent investors contributing money to the company.
To enjoy Ooho!, all you’ll need to do is peel the thicker outer layer as if you were peeling a fruit and pop it in your mouth. If you choose to do so, you can bite a hole in it, and drink the water without eating the seaweed-based layer. The standard casing has no taste, but it can be flavored or colored to meet specific requirements.
According to SurferToday, A runner by the name of Lucy Ashe used them to win London’s 2017 Harrow Half Marathon. She stated: “it takes a little bit of time to get used to, but actually, it’s the perfect amount of water that you need to take in a race.”
Skipping Rocks Lab envisions Ooho! Eventually being the size of coffee machines, making it perfect for cafés and food trucks at events.
Where To Buy Edible Water Balls
If you’re wondering where to buy edible water balls, you’re in luck because these famous edible water blobs are already available to purchase. NOTPLA, the material developed by Skipping Rocks Lab, has expanded their line to include a plastic-free solution to wasteful sauce pots and condiment sachets.
“Oohos! can be a fun way to drink juices, waters or even alcohol cocktails at festivals or private events without using plastic. We can put almost any liquid inside an Ooho! – fresh juices, sauces, condiments, energy and soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits and even cosmetics,” says it’s creators.
According to the National Post, portions are small, and once you crack into the Ooho, you’ll be committed to finishing it: 50 mL at a sporting event such as a marathon; 150 mL at a sit-down location like a café. “Once you bite a hole in it, you have to finish it in one go.
Make Your Own Edible Water At Home
This ‘edible water bottle’ could put an end to plastic packaging, but for now, it looks like the creators of Ooho! are manufacturing and distributing the blob on a larger scale.
A quick look into their website shows us that a minimum order quantity is 5,000 units. So while this is a fantastic product for replacing plastic cups and bottles for mass events, it may not be the most perfect, complete solution for an average person or family. In this case, a glass water bottle or even a filtered water bottle may be a better option. Find the best filtered water bottle reviews here.
You can even try taking a stab at making your own edible water at home, see the tutorial below:
This easy spherification recipe that involves making a gel coating around liquid water. Once you master this molecular gastronomy technique, you can apply it to other liquids.
The Key Ingredient
The key ingredient for this task is sodium alginate, a natural gelling powder derived from algae. It’s an alternative to gelatin, used in candies and other foods. You can also use calcium gluconate or food-grade calcium chloride. You can find these ingredients online, or you can find them in grocery stores that carry ingredients for molecular gastronomy.
- 1 gram sodium alginate
- 5 grams of calcium lactate
- Large bowl
- Smaller bowl
- Hand mixer
- Spoon with a rounded bottom
Tip: the size of the spoon determines the size of your water bottle. So for later water blobs, you can use a large spoon and use a tiny spoon if you want bite-sized bubbles.
- Add one gram of sodium alginate to one cup of water in a small bowl
- Use a hand mixer to ensure the sodium alginate is mixed with the water.
- Let the mixture sit for roughly 15 minutes to remove any air bubbles. The mixture should turn from a white liquid to a clear mixture.
- Stir five grams of calcium lactate into four cups of water in a large bowl. Mix well to dissolve the calcium lactate.
- Use the rounded spoon to scoop up the sodium alginate solution.
- Slowly drop the sodium alginate solution into the bowl containing the calcium lactate solution. It should quickly form a ball of water in the bowl.
- You can drop more spoonfuls of the sodium alginate solution into the calcium lactate bath. Just make sure that the water balls don’t touch each other because they will stick to each other.
- Have the water balls sit in the calcium lactate solution for about three minutes. You can slowly stir around the calcium lactate solution if you choose. (Note: time determines the thickness of the polymer layer. Use less time for a thinner layer and more time for a thicker layer.)
- Use a slotted spoon to remove each water ball gently.
- Place each ball in a bowl of water to stop any further reaction.
- Remove the edible water bottles and drink them.
Everyday around the world, we consume around 20,000 plastic bottles every second, and less than half of these are recycled. Innovations like Ooho! are providing alternatives to single-use plastics, to alleviate pressure on waste and recycling streams and reduce one of the world’s most troubling environmental threats: plastic pollution.