algae to create biodegradable water bottles

product design student Ari Jónsson has combined red algae powder with water to create a biodegradable bottle.

Jónsson – who studies at the Iceland Academy of the Arts – exhibited the project during this year’s Reykjavik design festival DesignMarch from 10 to 13 March 2016.

After reading about the amount of waste plastic produced every day, the designer felt an “urgent” need to develop a replacement material.

“I read that 50 per cent of plastic is used once and then thrown away so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Jónsson told Dezeen. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”

Algae water bottle by Ari Jonsson

He began studying the strengths and weaknesses of different materials to determine what could be suitable for use as a water bottle. Eventually he came across a powdered form of agar, a substance made from algae.

When agar powder is added to water, it forms a jelly-like material. After experimenting to find the right proportions, Jónsson slowly heated the substance before pouring it into a bottle-shaped mould that had been kept in the freezer.

Food packaging materials

Food packaging materials:

Every piece of food today is packed in plastic packaging. The bad thing is the packaging is not biodegradable. Many people throw it away, but microorganisms cannot dismantle them.

Those food packages destroy nature. For example, in the world there is not one single island that has no plastic rubbish on the beach. Even if there are no humans living there, the rubbish of food packaging and other plastics is still there.

It is easy to avoid these problems. Use reusable bags if you go shopping for example. Do not throw pieces of plastic packaging away into nature or invest in biodegradable plastic because this material will not destroy the future of our next generations. There is a new invention; it is like a water bubble filled with water. The inventors, young adults, say that this is the future of water bottles because you only have to bite into the bubble and suck the water out of it. The rest of thebubble is edible because it is bioplastic out of seaweed. And because it is edible it is also biodegradable, you can put the bottle in the compost or give it to a center which can recycle it. Food packaging material can be out of seaweed but also out of starch, cellulose, pectin and the peel of some fruits. Only 1% from all plastic products are made out of biodegradable materials.

How to make bioplastic

To get bioplastic, you have to mix a biopolymer with a plasticizer and some additives. Biopolymer is responsible for the stability.

Plasticizer is for flexibility and the additives change the colors, for example. For a polymer you can use starch gelatin or agar. The most used plasticizer is glycerin. It interacts with the polymer and gives flexibility to the end product. Glycerin is used because it is very cheap and abundant. Heat all the ingredients slowly up so that they get liquid. Mix them up and let them dry for a few hours. Then you have got your own bioplastic. All in all you can say, bioplastic is manufactured out of natural materials. So if the product comes back into nature, it is ok because it is just a mixture out of natural materials. The good thing about such biodegradable plastic is that everybody can mix those ingredients at home. You can order them on the internet and use your stove to heat them up. At the end you can form the plastic in every form you want as long as it is liquid. For example, you can do cups for drinking or plates for food, some foil or other containers and boxes. The possibilities are endless. With food color you can paint the plastic as you wish. All in all this is a very good opportunity to produce useful plastic parts that you need and you cannot buy anywhere.

Eco friendly packaging

Eco friendly packaging:

The world today has to think about the world tomorrow. The next generation wants a clean planet, too.


We cannot pollute our environment with rubbish like food packaging. The majority of food packaging hurts nature or destroys the environment. This is an important point because 10% of all plastic produced ends as rubbish in the sea. Big parts are crushed into small pieces -> microplastic. Those particles are eaten by fish and these fish are eaten by humans so the plastic gets into the eco system and destroys it slowly.

Lots of animal species have already died out because of sea rubbish. Sea turtles for example eat plastic bags because those bags look similar to jelly fish, which is the natural food of the turtles. But if they eat those bags, they die slowly and painfully. If the plastic was biodegradable, this wouldn’t be a problem. Animals could digest it. Also the biggest animals in the world have problems with plastic.

Whales are eating it, too. Especially the micro particles of plastic are problematic. Many whales are eating krill by filtering it through their whalebone. With the krill some plastic also gets into the mouth and the stomach of the animal. It takes a little bit longer, but also a 35m long animal like a whale can be seriously affected by a big enough amount of micro plastic.

Biodegradable materials


Biodegradable materials are plastics, which enzymes can dismantle into small natural pieces, like CO2and H2O.

Most biodegradable materials come from nature and are capable of being returned to it in a way that the natural environment is notharmed. 35% of all plastics produced are ‘’one-time-users’’. After use, people throw them away. That is very bad- it is important to use biodegradable materials for packaging.

Organisms, or their enzymes, can dismantle them without problems, because they already know those natural materials. They do not die from metabolizing these materials. For example you can produce biodegradable materials from bananas. You have to mix it with a binder and heat it up. After cooling down you get a brown black colored substance. With this material you can form a plant cup for seedlings, for example. Lots of garden centers are already buying those plastic cups and sell them with the plants inside. After buying you can immediately put them into the earth. The cup will be decomposed after a while and is an excellent fertilizer for your garden.

Biodegradable Packaging


Importance of Biodegradable Packaging Materials To The Environment

The concept about climate change has been a popular topic for discussion across the globe. Now, it seems as if virtually everyone has basic knowledge about the harmful effects of environmental breakdown.

More and more people are shifting attention to eco-friendly means so as to get their work done without tampering with Mother Nature. Nonetheless, your efforts would yield no meaningful results if you don’t know the right step to take.

Now more than ever, people are turning to biodegradable packaging materials because of its immense benefits it brings to the environment. Below are some of the benefits of using biodegradable packaging material.

Breaks down faster

Biodegradable packaging products breaks downs much faster when compared to other solid materials. Since it decomposes a lot faster than other alternatives, it allows for a more sustainable environment.

Cost effective

Another benefit of biodegradable product is its cost-effectiveness. Disposing waste even after recycling is a total loss moneywise. Due to the organic nature of biodegradable products, it leaves no waste behind. This way, you save money required to dispose the remnants.


Biodegradable packaging is usually manufactured from Bioplastics which has no harmful effect on the environment. Essentially, bioplastics are a form of plastic derived from sources such as soy bean oil, corn starch and hemp oil. Moreover, this organic compound is completely

Other amazing benefits of biodegradable packaging include the following: energy efficient, nontoxic, and reduces environmental pollution.

What’s more, bioplastics is mostly popular in packaging. Furthermore, biodegradable packaging is commonly used in shopping bags, containers for dairy products and fruit, trays, soft drink bottles, meat packaging and much more.

Biodegradable packaging materials are proven and tested to be helpful to not only the environment, but also the human race. Hence, it is expedient to have a perfect understanding about biodegradable packaging material.


Next Steps...

sustainable packaging



The quest for sustainable packaging has been the buzzword over the last decade. This is largely driven by public perception, retailers’ requirements, economic policies and government legislation.

Sustainability is more than just the mode of production, it affects the choice of raw material to the end of life of the packaging. The debate into sustainable package has revealed few things; top of which is the absence of a total sustainable package. Here are the top three tips that should guide you implementing sustainable packaging;

  1. Life-cycle Approach to Packaging

Package designers should utilize the availability of numerous Life Cycle Assessment tools. It should be used in understanding the effects of each packaging option chosen. Pick one of this growing number of sustainable metrics tools and stick with it. Be consistent in the use and focus on the core environmental goals of your company.

  1. Assess Component Parts Individually

You should constantly find answers to questions about the possibility of using fewer materials in the packaging without compromising product integrity and quality. There are already different technology that supportsuse of lesser materials. Try and be innovative with materials for caps, labels, and containers, ensure you are improving on your package to product ratio.

  1. Seek Opportunities to Make Packaging Reusable.

Reusability of packaging materials is one route that guarantees sustainable packaging. In 2010, KFC introduced reusable containers. PUMA also adopted this method by reducing the use of paper by 65%. These two examples are examples of product usability that is encouraged in the industry.




Bioplastics have emerged as an essential stratum of the bioeconomy with a value of 2 trillion Euros in annual turnover and provides close to 22 million jobs in Europe alone. In the United States, the industry is worth close to $680 million with an expected increase in coming years.

Bioplastics are products of agricultural by-products derived from renewable biomass sources e.g. vegetable fats and oil, microbiotal or corn starch. When biodegraded, many bioplastics also release carbon dioxide or monoxide though with less environmental hazard to that of conventional plastics.

The development of bioplastic is nonetheless to serve as alternative for conventional plastics whose problems include inability to decompose easily, contribution to pollution and landfill, expensive to produce, presence of toxic chemical (such as BPA) as well as large carbon deposit both in production and recycling.The ability of bioplastics to replace and prevent the side effects associated with conventional plastics however suggests that bioplastics is easily decomposed within a short period of time; it is less polluting, cheap to produce and maintain, free of toxic chemicals like BPA and as well with lower carbon deposits either during production or recycling.

No one could really predict the future of bioplastics, but on a large scale as being carried out by Coca-Cola, bioplastics should lead to efficiency. In reality, bioplastics are not 100% eco-friendly, its production requires increased energy which in turn leads to environmental pollution. In summary, bioplastics can bring about sustainability but is not a cure for plastic problem facing planet Earth.