Public outings like music concerts, marathons, and sporting events have always been among the biggest consumers of plastic. In light of new eco-friendly trends, more companies and events are trying to find smart solutions that will help to provide hundreds of people with water and food without polluting our planet. The London Marathon, that took place on April 28th, did something unprecedented: instead of plastic bottles and cups with water, this time runners were given edible seaweed pouches.
Here at 5 Fun Facts we’ve had a closer look at this groundbreaking technology, and here’s how it works.
This is how the majority of sporting events and other public events all over the world have looked until now.
Experts say that after just 6 decades of plastic existence we have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic items, most of which ended up in the trash. Musical, sports, and other events that involve thousands of people are among the major consumers of disposable plastic bottles and cups, and, unfortunately, not all of this trash gets properly recycled. In the picture above you can see the aftermath of the London Marathon in 2009 when the streets were covered with thousands of empty bottles. Until recently, the London Marathon used about 900,000 plastic bottles to provide runners and guests with water, but this time things changed.
This year the London Marathon organizers handed runners edible water pouches, which helped them avoid using 200,000 plastic bottles.
In 2019, the marathon partnered with Skipping Rock Lab Ltd., the company that produces edible seaweed pouches called Ooho. The pouches are 100% green and, if not eaten right away, they biodegrade in nature in 4 — 6 weeks. This time the event organizers substituted 200,000 plastic bottles with these seaweed pouches, but promised that the 700,000 plastic bottles that were still given to runners would be thoroughly collected and recycled into new plastic bottles. Before the London Marathon, this new invention was tested during a couple of other sporting events, like the Vitality Big Half that took place on March 10th in London, and some other marathons.
Specialists at Skipping Rock Lab Ltd. remove the taste, color, and odor from the seaweed and produce a thin but strong membrane that can hold a wide range of drinks and liquid substances. The equipment they use allowed organizers to pack the drinks they wanted right before the event and give people fresh, tasty, and 100% eco-friendly products. The seaweed capsule can be safely eaten or thrown away in nature where it will quickly dissolve with no harm to the environment. Isn’t that amazing?
In the comments on OohoWater’s Twitter posts, runners, visitors of the marathon, and other internet users couldn’t stop admiring this groundbreaking invention. Runners note that the seaweed pouches turned out to be more convenient than conventional bottles and cups, while people from other cities and countries are inviting the company to take part in organizing marathons. Many of the comments also praise the design, and a lot of people seem interested in trying what it feels like to have a drink and eat its package.
Seaweed pouches have a huge potential of being able to replace plastic in many spheres of life, and we hope more companies and events follow this good example.
Seaweed edible pouches can be used for storing and transporting not only water, but many other liquid substances like juices, cocktails, and other drinks, and even ketchup and sauces. Seaweed, that can grow up to one meter per day, is one of the most renewable sources on our planet and it can serve as the basis for many other goods as well.
In the near future, Skipping Rocks Lab Ltd. plans to produce biodegradable nets for fruit and veggies, heat sealable films for powders and dry foods, and sachets for non-food products like screws and nails. Even though the problem of plastic pollution is still very serious, green inventions like this give us hope that further generations may have a chance to live on a cleaner planet.
Would you like to try a drink from an edible pouch? Do you think more companies and sporting events will support this good initiative in the future?