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Edible and Biodegradable Water Bottle Made Of Algae Developed By a Student

Apr 09, 2016 10:03 AM EDT
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Producing plastic is one of the major adversaries of Mother Earth. Aside from causing non-biodegradable waste, the BPA (Bisphenol-A) substance can make it hazardous to human health. It also involves energy-intensive processes that use a lot of raw materials. 

Good thing, a student in Iceland found and proposed a solution. He invented an edible and biodegradable water bottle made up of algae. And yes, it decomposes by itself.

According to a report by the organization Ban the Bottle, Americans alone produce a total of a billion plastic bottle wastes annually due to its low recycling rate. And if we add up the data worldwide, the result is more devastating.

Thanks to environment advocates like Ari Jonsson, we now have a water bottles alternative which is made of natural materials. 

Student Ari Jonsson of the Iceland Academy of the Arts recently debuted his invention during the Reykjavik Design Festival last March. 

"I read that 50 percent of plastic is used once and then thrown away, so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day," Jonsson said in an interview with Dezeen.

His water bottles are made from red algae. After rigorous research for materials, he finally discovered a suitable substance called agar, which is harnessed from algae.

Agar is defined as a "gelatin-like product made primarily from the algae." It is known for its solidifying properties which make them a fitting aid in canning or storing of food and other products.

Agar first takes a jelly form and then later on hardens.

(Photo : Ari Jonsson via ScienceAlert) This is Ari Jonsson's innovation for the water bottle: It is entirely made out of natural materials. 

This is why Jonsson thought of using it for his water bottle innovation, which after its usage, won't turn into waste but decomposes. Because it is made up of all natural materials, Jonsson said it can be safely consumed. 

"The designer said that if consumers like the taste of alga, they can, by all means, eat the bottle itself after consuming the water," a report said. 

The downside, however, is the taste. Further testing is needed to produce a palatable version of this edible water bottle.

According to the same report, the bottle is made of a mixture of red algae (agar) with water. This turns into a gelatin or jelly-like substance. He then uses a mold to shape it into a water bottle and then submerges it in ice-cold water to harden.

What's even more amazing is that this bottle will not decompose or decay as long as it is filled with water. Once it is emptied, then it will start the decomposing process. This assures consumers that the water bottle made up of algae will never turn into waste material.

With innovations like this edible and biodegradable water bottle, scientists should pay more attention to eco-friendly materials to finally curb or alleviate the world's plastic waste problem. In 2014, a group of London -based designers also developed an edible water container which is also made up entirely of algae.

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