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Startup Bets You’ll Drink From – And Eat – Their Seaweed “Bottle”

Posted on April 19th, 2017 by in New Materials & Applications


Image by David Boozer [CC0 1.0] via pexels

The average American’s fondness for plastic disposable water bottles wanes quickly after consumption, recycling less than a quarter consumed annually with the remainder destined for the landfill. A London-based startup may hold the key to reversing this trend by eliminating the package – or at least the plastic.

Rather than targeting incremental improvements in the bottle’s material, the Ooho from Skipping Rocks Lab rethinks the concept of packaging. By focusing functionally – transportation of liquids – rather than tactically on materials – the sphere of thought is broader and innovative ideas are more likely to emerge. In this case, the Ooho uses the culinary technique of spherification to encapsulate water in “bite sized” spheres made from calcium chloride or calcium glucate lactate and a brown algae extract. If you’ve ever had bubble tea or caviar, then you’re familiar with the technique.

Originally announced in 2014 after winning a Lexus Design Award, Skipping Rocks Lab has been further refining product design as well as tuning manufacturing at scale. Evidently, the public also believes in the company mission, over-funding their recent crowdfunding campaign to nearly 200% raising £798,490 from 954 investors. The company is currently targeting events for “drinks on the go” selling in outdoor pop ups in London and seeking to secure major events through 2018. Learn more about the Ooho in the following video hosted on YouTube:

While plastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in disposable water bottles were designed to be easily recycled, this can’t occur if they never make it to the recycling bin. According to the 2015 United States National Postconsumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report published by the American Chemistry Council, the total pounds of plastic bottles collected for recycling reached nearly 3 billion pounds. This represented a reduction of 14 million pounds compared to the previous year. Perhaps innovations like the Ooho can help reverse this alarming trend?

Would you be willing to eat your next water bottle? How could thinking functionally about your product line change your company’s go-to-market strategy? Tell us about your quest for unconventional knowledge and what it could mean for the future of your products or companies. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media channel.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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