Algae-Based Jars Quickly Decompose
Ari Jónsson, a 32-year-old student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, has invented an all-natural water bottle that holds its shape when full and decomposes when empty. He debuted his creation at the DesignMarch 2016 festival in Reykjavík, Iceland. The only two materials needed to create the bottle are agar, a gelatinous substance that comes from red algae, and water.
“I just followed the path in what I was researching, trying to find new ways to use materials,” says Jónsson, who combined the two ingredients, heated the mixture, poured it into a mold, and then quickly cooled it. The H2O binds and thickens the agar when cooled, retaining the shape of the water bottle mold, explains Jónsson. When the finished bottle is empty, “It will rot like other foods.”
The bottles can sustainably decompose in soil, although Jónsson has yet to determine exactly how long that process will take. A plastic water bottle takes more than 1,000 years to biodegrade, and in the U.S., more than 2 million tons of the containers are languishing in landfills.