Ooho, the Edible Water Bottle
Tom Spendlove posted on November 25, 2015 | | 12172 views

Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez has a big problem with plastic bottles. He says that seven liters of water and 152 centileters of oil are required to produce each bottle. The bottles take 700 years to decompose and even the twenty percent of bottles that are recycled require energy to be transformed into another substance. Consumption of plastic bottles increases around ten percent per year since 1976, and the US drinks 140 bottles per person per year.

As an undergraduate architecture student Gonzalez and a few classmates worked on the problem of plastic bottles, collecting bottles in groups and creating structural components. This addressed the symptoms of the problem but not the root cause. Later Rodrigo worked with some packaging engineers to create Ooho, the edible water bottle. He presents his ideas in the Solve for X talk Ooho! The Edible Water Bottle.

The idea for Ooho comes from nature and the concept of a strong amorphous membrane. The team used algae as a base material combined with calcium and water to create a gel modeled after the process of spherification. The membrane is both edible and biodegradable so once the water inside is consumed it can be discarded or eaten. Gonzalez quickly swallows the membrane in the video.

Ooho is unique in that the technology is fully developed but the problem is now getting acceptance for the radical idea. Along with Pierre Yves Paslier and Guillaume Couche, Gonzalez has held educational seminars and run product testing. The first testing was done in the team's kitchen and released online through a Creative Commons license. A small community developed of Youtubers making the membranes, changing or improving the design and broadcasting their findings.

This talk is also unique because Gonzalez isn't just presenting his ideas but asking for help from the Solve for X collective audience. How can the packaging be improved to ship only the product? How can the membrane itself be improved?

Gonzalez is low energy but his enthusiasm and optimism are incredibly catchy. This is a great talk not just for the idea and the progress he's made but the innovative ways the team is trying to transfer the technology out into the world. Most importantly I learned that there is an International Bottled Water Association

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