How do you reduce the waste produced by plastic water bottles and food packaging? Eat it!
"It is a new form of packaging that offers an alternative to plastic bottles". Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche have good reason to be proud. In May 2014, these three students from the Royal College of Art in London won a Lexus Design Award for their invention "Ooho!"... a biodegradable, edible bottle! The water is encapsulated in a double membrane, which is a brown algae and calcium chloride compound formed by the spherification method. Simply pierce the envelope and drink!
What if we could eat not only the everyday products we buy from supermarkets but also the wrapping?
A marketing gimmick according to some people, a breakthrough innovation according to others - across the globe scientists and industrialists are working on new, greener packaging solutions.
Dr. David Edwards, for example. A culinary experiment enthusiast, he has been developing the WikiPearlTM concept since 2009 - haute couture snacks "deliciously inspired by nature". Cheese, ice cream, yoghurt and fruit encased in a shell made of natural chitosan and alginate. WikiPearls are sold in some whole food stores and a partnership has been established with Stonyfield. Now imagine we could eat not only the everyday products we buy from supermarkets but also the wrapping. MonoSol has developed a transparent film that has no taste or odor and dissolves in hot or cold liquids.
On paper, these inventions are promising - they reduce waste and manufacturing costs, improve the nutritional quality of food... but they also raise a number of issues. What about protecting the food from contamination? What about making sure the taste isn’t altered? And above all, there’s the psychological barrier that people need to overcome...
A few years ago years, experiments like these would have seemed farfetched. But given that no-packaging supermarkets are opening all over Europe they are starting to make sense and could in fact help to reduce the amount of individual packaging.
For more information:
- This Edible Blob Is A Water Bottle Without The Plastic
- Edible packaging: fancy a wrap?
- Are You Going To Eat That Wrapper?