Biodegradable Algae Water Bottles Offer Intriguing Possibilities

Many of the world’s plastic bottles end up in landfills or in oceans where they takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. In response to this problem, Ari Jónsson from Iceland  has developed a biodegradable plastic bottle made of algae. When filled, the bottle remains in its solid form. As soon as it is empty however, it begins to biodegrade!

Jónsson’s biobased plastic bottle is made out of agar, a gel-like material used widely in food preparation as well as a growth medium is microbiological research. which comes from the cell walls of red algae. These cells have a double walled structure. The outer wall comprises polysaccharides, namely agaropectin and agarose, which are long chains of sugar molecules.  When combined with water, these algae cell walls forming the basis of agar turn into a moldable gel that can be shaped into a bottle.

When liquid is emptied, out of the bottle, the sugar molecules dry out and begin to fall apart, or rather biodegrade.

As an added bonus, this algae based bottle is completely non-toxic, so it can even be eaten. Although its creator admits that so far, the taste isn’t exactly great.

But don’t go looking for this algae bottle on supermarket shelves just yet as the long term shelf life of this material is unknown so further studies are needed. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating material exploration showing the way forward!

Jónsson unveiled his algae bottles recently at DesignMarch in Reykjavik. He is currently a student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Source via Dezeen