Edible Water Bottles Made From Biodegradable Algae

July 26, 2016 by


After he read about the amount of waste plastic ending up in landfills and polluting our planet, Icelandic product design student Ari Jónsson’s felt an urgent need to develop a replacement for the common plastic water bottle.

Jónsson created The Ooho, a bottle made of agar, a gel-like material made by combining red algae powder with water.  Agar is used widely in food preparation and as a growth medium in microbiological research. He exhibited his bottle concept during this year’s Reykjavik design festival DesignMarch.


“Fifty 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 amounts of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Jónsson told Dezeen. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”


And Jónsson’s bottle may even be good enough to eat. It’s made of all natural materials so the water or other beverage filling the bottle is safe to drink. And as it may absorb a bit of an algae flavor,  Jónsson suggested that if the user likes the taste, they can eat the bottle when finished with the contents. I don’t know about that, but I’ve heard algae is healthy.


Jónsson’s is not the first edible algae bottle. A group of London-based industrial design students Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche created one using algae and a technique popularized by Ferran Adrià, the Spanish chef who put “molecular gastronomy” on the map at his former restaurant El Bulli, on the Costa Brava near Barcelona. (You can try it yourself with this kit, or if you would like the haute Ferran Adrià experience, check out the gorgeous Ferran Adrià Collection slipcased books.)

spherification-el-bulli-phaedon-press-urbangardenswebPhoto via Phaedon Press.

The Ooho, which at first looks like a blob of gel, holds water within a transparent membrane that can be molded into a variety of shapes. Basically an edible balloon, the students made the Ooho using spherification, a method developed by scientists in 1946 for shaping liquids into spheres which Adrià incorporated into his recipes at El Bulli (see Adrià’s Liquid Pea Ravioli, below.)

liquid-pea-ravioli-elbulli-adriaPhoto via MolecularRecipes.com

After closing El Bulli’s doors in 2012–for years named “the best restaurant in the world” (a moniker now claimed by El Celler de Can Roca, another Catalan restaurant in Girona)–Adrià launched The El Bulli Foundation, whose mission is to foster creativity of the edgy gastronomic variety. The Foundation’s slogan, “Eat knowledge to nurture creativity” represents Adrià’s belief that food can be approached like any creative discipline, decoding it through an experiential and analytical creative process of storytelling from an evolutionary perspective.

spherification-olives_el-bulli-urbangardenswebPhoto via MolecularRecipes.com

In late 2016 Adrià’s relaunching the restaurant as elBulli1846, which will be open for just 20 days a year and will award free dinners to 50% of its diners through an online lottery. At the El Bulli Foundation, a team of 30 chefs per year will work for 6 months exploring creativity as applied to “living” gastronomy. The Foundation will function as a sort of cutting-edge art/culinary research facility offering cultural performances, art exhibitions, and other creative ventures Adrià has not yet divulged.

“We made avant-garde happen,” said Adrià. “And avant-garde has an expiry date. We needed to create a new concept of the future. And I hope elBulli1846 will last the next century.”

Who knows, Adrià may eat his words, and if not, he can always feast on the algae bottles.

Check out these 3D-printed  covers that transform water bottles into vases and these floating urban parks made entirely of recycled plastic waste.

Photos via BoredPanda. h/t Dezeen and Materia.

1 Comment »

  1. Our Oceans Are a Repository of Important Raw Materials - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] which we have polluted our waters. With sea materials such as algae, we can now produce biodegradable water bottles. Through its process of photosynthesis,  and ability to absorb nutrients, seaweed offers a […]

    — June 10, 2017 @ 12:40

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