1. Identify the problem
Humans are highly addicted to plastic products, and we are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every year. Plastic products are not biodegradable, and remain in the environment for a long time.
In the case of bottled water, people drink bottled water everyday due to its convenience and portability. Those are made from crude oil, and pollutants such as nickel, ethylene oxide, and benzene are released during the production process. It pollutes air in the production process as well as the transportation process.
2. Sustainable technology: Edible water blob
The edible water blob is a possible solution to replace plastic bottles, and it carries any liquid types such as fresh juices, sauce and beer. The material is cheaper than plastic and the biodegrade process takes only six weeks on average while plastic bottles require 450 and 1,000 years. Skipping Rocks Lab uses a technique called ‘spherification” to produce edible water bottles. This simple process mixes sodium alginate and calcium chloride until they get a gelatinous membrane that encapsulates water or any other liquid. Due to the relatively simple process, the lab manufacturing process is able to produce several thousands of edible water blobs in a single day. Seaweed grows rapidly and naturally degrades quickly while it does not compete with food crops. Therefore, using seaweed for materials to produce edible water blob makes their products highly sustainable. Edible water blobs do not impact the taste or color of the liquid inside as well. They are working on developing a machine to produce edible water blobs to expand their product worldwide.
- Shifting requires a box, and their concept of packageless and zero waste products does not match with the core concept of the idea.
- Difficult to communicate with consumers without using a printed paper-based label.
- Warning, ingredient information is obligated to be on the product’s packaging, and it really destroys the idea of this product.
- Transporting long distances may impact the product.
3. Identifying Stakeholders
- All citizens of the planet
- City officials looking to reduce plastic waste
- Consumers who seeks sustainable products
- Industry such as hotel or sports events that seeks to reduce plastic waste
- Secure a factory that can transform biodegradable seaweed and calcium chloride based edible membrane.
- Produce edible water blob through a process called “spherification” (mix sodium alginate and calcium chloride and transform into a gelatinous membrane)
- Tie-up with various industries to create new products that can expand worldwide.
One thought on “Edible water blob”
Very cool, Byungchul, thanks for sharing! What an exciting plastic elimination solution. I think you make a great point with the challenges you’ve listed here – especially that it does not seem like a particularly easily transportable option without adding more packaging…although perhaps it is more durable than it appears. I suppose that even if the water blobs are targeted as a more niche solution for specific situations, like sports events, they could still make a positive impact. I checked out Notpla’s website (https://www.notpla.com/products-2/) and was excited to see that they produce more than just water blobs using this tech! My personal favorite was take-away sachets for things like ketchup. What a great way to allow the convenience of individual packaging without the environmental impact of plastic.