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Are Biodegradable Water Bottles Made from Algae the Answer to Our Trash Problem?

Are Biodegradable Water Bottles Made from Algae the Answer to Our Trash Problem?

Imagine - a mass 2x the size of Texas made up of water bottles is floating in the Pacific Ocean right now as you read this. 

Imagine - a mass 2x the size of Texas made up of water bottles is floating in the Pacific Ocean right now as you read this. 

Do you know how many tons of plastic waters bottles are currently floating on the surface of our oceans right now? Or how many plastic bottles we Americans throw away each year? 

According to EcoWatch, billions of pounds of plastic currently float in our oceans. So much, in fact, that plastic covers about 40% of the ocean’s surface. Off the coast of California there is a floating mass of plastic twice the size of Texas that is known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” 

Is there a way for us to decrease the amount of waters bottles Americans throw away each year, which happens to be about 35 billion water bottles annually? Ari Jónsson, a student at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, would like to think so. When prompted how it would be possible to create water bottles out of materials that don’t take 100s or 1000s of years to break down, Ari created a water bottle out of algae and entered it into the 2016 design festival in Reykjavik called “Design March”, this past March. 

A water bottle made from algae? The wave of the future? Could be.
A water bottle made from algae? The wave of the future? Could be.

Ari experimented with different biodegradable materials while making his bottles, but settled on using agar powder, which he poured into a mold and froze into the shape of a bottle. Once filled with water, the bottle itself holds its shape and does not biodegrade until it is empty. 

The process of decomposition of the bottle made from Agar Powder, by Ari Jonsson. 

The process of decomposition of the bottle made from Agar Powder, by Ari Jonsson. 

Since the water bottles themselves are made out of 100% natural materials, the water inside is safe to drink. Furthermore, if you like the flavor of algae, you could even take a bite out of the bottle once you’re finished drinking the water. The only downside is that if the water is stored in the bottles for an extended period of time, it does start to take on the flavor of algae, but hey, some people might enjoy that flavor!

Until the bottles are available on the market, here are 3 actions you can take right now to decrease the amount of plastic you use and put back into the environment: 

  1. Drink filtered water, not bottled water
  2. Bring reusable bags to the store when shopping, especially the grocery store.
  3. Carry reusable utensils with you, so that you don’t rely on one-time-use items like plastic forks and spoons 

Or if you’re feeling adventurous and scientific, you could try making your own water bottles out of agar powder, or maybe you could try making these water blobs!

If you're into molecular gastronomy and spherification of foods ... then maybe water blobs are for you. Just make sure you have a towel to dry off after drinking your water blob.
If you're into molecular gastronomy and spherification of foods ... then maybe water blobs are for you. Just make sure you have a towel to dry off after drinking your water blob.

Article by: Rajmani Sinclair

 

April 5, 2016

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