No, this is not a science fiction story, it’s now science fact – it is possible to make water bottles made out of Algae. We are so used to plastic bottles helping us to transport our favourite drinks, that perhaps we’ve been too lazy to look at other methods to do the same thing, but environmentally friendly. But there is a wonderful light at the end of the tunnel.
Single-use plastic has now become a major problem with the world’s oceans and landfills. The water bottles (plastic ones remember) are then taken away in the weekly trash and will in time find their way to the landfill site. The landfill site is that huge area on the outskirts of town where trucks dump your rubbish in a huge pit the size of a lake and fill the top layer over with soil. Where the trucks have shifted the soil from one large area, they will have created another big crater in the land where the next lot of rubbish will go.
The process goes on and on; as one landfill site gets filled up, the other one then gets moved to dump on top of the new landfill site. The rubbish will have decomposed (hopefully) by the time the topsoil is used to fill the land of the new dumping site. The world’s oceans are facing a similar problem, the Great Pacific garbage patch has become the vortex for the worlds plastic debris, congealing into a huge floating plastic sea in the north central Pacific Ocean. And it is this mountainous amount of plastic ending up in the ocean, and often ending up in the stomachs of marine animals.
The cycle goes on and on like this – but there’s just one problem when it comes to the waste of plastic water bottles: these do not decompose. Well, they do but it would take nearly 1,000 years until decomposition is complete.
The fact that so many of us use a plastic water bottle just once and don’t even bother to refill it makes this waste so unbearable to think about. So it is with great comfort that someone somewhere in the world has decided to do something about it. Product designer Ari Jonsson is Iceland’s answer to the problem of non-biodegradable water bottles made from tough plastic.
Jonsson has manufactured a prototype water bottle container made from algae. It is biodegradable and will not sit on a landfill site for almost 1,000 years to decompose. Jonsson says he cannot understand why we use plastic water bottle just once, then throw them away so they can take nearly 1,000 years to break down.
You can even eat water bottles made out of Algae – it’s 100% natural
The innovation behind the solution of making a water bottle out of algae comes from using agar, which is actually a substance derived from algae, and not the plant itself. Agar has been around for 400 years, in fact, ever since a man in Japan was drinking some fish soup and discarded it out into his backyard and watched it, over time, gel together. Only 2 materials are needed, agar, a gelatinous substance, and water. When water is added to the agar powder, a jelly-like material is created. You then use a mold for the bottle shape and cool it in a refrigerator. And a while later, there you have it water bottles made out of Algae. Incredible.