Photo credit : Notpla

Humans manufacture more than 300 million tons of plastic a year, half of which is single-use and approximately 26.8 million tons ends up in landfills but over eight million tons are dumped into the ocean.

Presently, a UK startup is committing to sever our global plastic dependence with an eco-friendly casing that can store ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, or any condiment.

Created from seaweed, Ooho sachets from Notpla are biodegradable, compostable and even edible.

Seaweed harvested in northern France is dried up and mashed into powder before going through a patented procedure that turns it into a clear material which can be shaped like plastic.

Seaweed thrives faster than paper or starch, and does not strive for land or fresh water.

‘Seaweed is a fantastic base material due to its sustainability credentials and fast growth,’ COO Lise Honsinger told Packaging Europe. ‘By using a natural material as an input, it makes us a carbon recycler, rather than plastics which obviously come from non-renewable oil.’

Notpla co-founder Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez explains that one strain of seaweed the company uses heightens three feet a day.

‘Can you imagine something growing that fast?’ he tells Business Insider. ‘You don’t need fertilizer, you don’t need to put water on it, and it’s a resource that we have been using for a long time.’

The sachets come in diverse sizes, from a third of an ounce to two ounces.

The ‘Ooho’ name was from the sound people make when they see it for the first time, Garcia says.

The company has collaborated with Just Eat, a British food delivery app, on an evaluation program employing Ooho packets for Hellmann’s ketchup, barbecue sauce and other condiments.

According to Unilever, Hellman’s parent company, more than 90 percent of consumers felt the sachets were almost as simple to utilize as conventional plastic packets and would like to see more takeaway sauces in Ooho packaging.

‘This trial is a great example of collaboration driving game-changing innovation,’ said Unilever’s Hazel Detsiny. ‘We’re creating a new and exciting experience for Just Eat customers who can enjoy the same great tasting Hellmann’s – but with zero plastic waste.’

Glenlivet sampled Oohos filled with whiskey and Oohos filled with water were delivered at the London Marathon.

In early March, a vending machine that dispenses Oohos filled with an Lucozade energy drink was installed at a gym in London.

After generating more than $1 million in a crowdfunding campaign last year, Notpla generated over $5 million in venture capital earlier this year.

Several cardboard takeaway containers are treated with polylactic acid, or PLA, which might be centuries before decomposing, but Notpla Box is treated with seaweed and plant extracts to make it waterproof and greaseproof.

‘What we’ve done is replace the PLA with our natural material, so even if it does enter nature, it will degrade naturally like a piece of fruit or a vegetable,’ Juno Wilson, Notpla’s projects and business manager, told Business Insider.


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