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16 May, 2018 - 15:10 By Kate Sweeney

Seaweed extract drink containers designed to end plastic bottles shame

Cambridge product design group PA Consulting is helping a UK startup develop a machine that makes eco friendly containers that could spell an end to plastic water bottles.

Its client, London-based Skipping Rocks Lab, has devised the container – called Ooho – which is made from seaweed extract. It is 100 per cent naturally biodegradable. When someone has finished drinking the water they can even eat the container.

Skipping Rocks Lab plans to lease machines to companies to use on their premises. Retailers will be able to produce water or juice-filled Oohos daily on-site, rather than taking up storage space with stock. 

Skipping Rocks Lab wants ultimately to stop the one billion plastic bottles reaching the ocean every year and banish the 300 million kg of carbon emissions that goes with them. 

Besides using nine times less energy in the production process, the seaweed extract used in the new-style containers has the potential to be cost competitive with plastic.

From mid-2017, PA – based in Melbourn near Royston – deployed a team of mechanical and process engineers to work closely with Skipping Rocks Lab scientists to develop and test a prototype. The startup hopes to have a small number of machines with clients by the end of this year and is testing Ooho at events such as 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.

Image courtesy – Skipping Rocks Lab

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