One of the biggest problems with water bottles is that people are using far too many of them, and then they aren't recycling them properly. They end up in landfills and the ocean instead of getting reused for something. Studies have shown that a regular water bottle will take centuries to degrade.
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However, there might be a green solution that is equal parts genius...and gross.
Ari Jonsson from the Iceland Academy of Arts has develoepd an alternative, biodegradable bottle made from algae. While the bottle has water left inside of it, it is solid and functions as a traditional bottle. As soon as it is empty, however, it begins to dissolve.
The bottle is composed of the cell walls of red algae, something called agar. These cells are double walled, with the outer layer having agarose and agaropectin, which are polysaccharides. These are long chain sugar molecules that are the basis of agar, which is a gel-like material that has been used in many different things, including as a growth medium in microbiological research and in food preparation.
When the algea cell wall material combines with water, you get the bottle in the photo above, which comes from Geek.com. The bottle is completely natural and non-toxic, so you don't have to worry about your water. You'll note that many people worry about plastic water bottles that were allowed to get warm. You could, if you really wanted to, even eat the bottle. Jonsson said it is a bit like "seaweed jello," but unless the bottle is kept for too long at room temperature, you won't really taste it.
As soon as the bottle is emptied, the gel dries and begins to crumble, much like seaweed does, because the polysaccharides are falling apart.
The bottle also stays cooler in warm temperatures, and extra bonus.
There are still some problems. We aren't sure how long the shelf life of such a bottle is, nor how durable it would be. They would also have to do some research into bacterial growth.
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Still, it is a neat way to figure out a problem. What will be next - seaweed K-cups? Starbucks cups?