In an effort to cut down on waste—and save people from that annoying moment when you’re stuck with an empty bottle and no nearby recycling bin—three industrial design students in London created bottled water minus the bottle. The product, called Ooho, is water contained by a thin, edible membrane.

Ooho is made using spherification, the molecular gastronomy technique in which a liquid is dropped into an alginate solution, forming a protective gel around that liquid. The technique, first created by scientists in 1946, was popularized by Ferran Adria in Barcelona with his spherical olive, and can now be found in restaurant kitchens across the country.

Ooho co-designer Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez tells Fast Co,

“The reality is that more and more, when we drink water we throw away a plastic bottle. Eighty percent of them are not recycled. This consumerism reflects the society in which we live.”

In addition to helping save the environment, the technology behind Ooho could help boost the economy. Ooho may reduce the price of bottled water by reducing cost on physical packaging (at the moment, one Ooho costs a mere $0.02 to produce).

Logistical problems will have to be tackled before you can get an Ooho from your office vending machine. Potential logistical hurdles include: How to keep it clean; how to insure it won’t break before you’re ready to drink/eat it; how to not spill water all over yourself when drinking it.

If anything, the Ooho proves that it won’t be long before molecular gastronomy techniques such as spherification are applied to the everyday world.

Watch a video of someone drinking water from the Ooho below.

[via Fast Co-Exist]

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