In a bid to slash the massive amount of plastic waste that gets left behind after big sporting events like marathons, for the second year in a row, the organizers of the half-marathon in London are planning to ditch plastic water bottles and cups and offer runners edible water blobs instead.
Coming from startup Notpla, the water-filled pods are made of seaweed and plants, and are entirely safe to eat. You just bite the corner off to drink the beverage inside, and if you decide not to eat them, they’ll biodegrade in about six weeks.
While the innovative packages are a great way to raise awareness about the plastic crisis, it’s unlikely that they will replace the plastic bottles that are ubiquitous in retail stores. They could, however, replace plastic condiment packets that are so casually thrown by the handful into takeout bags of fast food.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what Notpla is currently working on, as it plans to expand into other applications, including sachets that can hold ketchup or mayo with takeout orders in restaurants. This innovation could prove extremely useful in the fight against unnecessary plastic waste, because these common sauce packets are a type of packaging that have been difficult to replace in the past, and aren’t recyclable.
As more eco-friendly packaging options become available, we hope to see more companies in the food and beverage industry step up and adopt them, making wasteful packaging a thing of the past.