London start-up Skipping Rocks Lab has come up with an alternative to plastic water bottles. It’s a flexible container called Ooho, made from seaweed extract, that’s 100 percent naturally biodegradable. When someone has finished drinking the water they can even eat the container.
We’re helping the business develop the machine to manufacture the containers. Skipping Rocks Labs will lease the machine to businesses to use on their premises. The retailers will then be able to produce water or juice-filled Oohos daily on-site, rather than taking up storage space with stock. The business ultimately aims to help stop up to one billion plastic bottles reaching the ocean every year, and stop the 300 million kg of carbon emissions that go with them. As well as using 9 times less energy in the production process, the material has the potential to have cost competitive with plastic.
We started working with the business after meeting their team at an event run by the Circular Economy 100 programme in late 2016, and our team of mechanical and process engineers has worked closely with the Skipping Rocks Lab team of scientists on developing and testing the machine since mid-2017.
The business hopes to have a small number of machines with clients by the end of 2018. In the meantime, they’re testing Ooho at events like outdoor food markets and marathons.
The potential for Ooho doesn’t stop at replacing water bottles. The material can be a substitute for many single-use plastics, from ketchup sachets to miniature shampoo bottles.