Edible bottles could replace plastic waste

February 23rd, 2012 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 23 (IANS) Fancy a bottle that could be as edible and tasty as its contents and get rid of the plastic waste that such products currently generate.

Harvard University experts, working on the concept, have filled an orange membrane with orange juice, a tomato-flavoured enclosure with gazpacho (cold Spanish/Portuguese tomato-based raw vegetable soup) and grape packages with wine.

Biomedical engineer David Edwards hopes to create a prototype of the bottle out of WikiCells soon. “In the near term, we will be encountering WikiCells in restaurant settings’ as a novelty item,” he said.

WikiCells is an edible material created from a biodegradable polymer or plastic and food particles. Essentially, it is an egg-like membrane hard shell. It can be filled with a variety of flavours, including orange juice, wine or chocolate.

It could form either a layer that you could peel off a bottle — or, one day, make the entire container. The product, a membrane created using a biodegradable plastic combined with food particles, could either be peeled off or potentially eaten whole.

“People in a village in Africa could become plastic bottle-free and make things for themselves. It’s really exciting from a humanitarian point of view,” says Edwards, according to a Daily Mail report.

Edwards, professor at Harvard, plans to expand WikiCells to speciality stores and supermarts as a novelty item for restaurants.

But he hopes to produce a WikiCell machine that could allow people, especially in the developing world, to make their own bottles without relying on plastic.

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