You know what’s great? Soup in a bread bowl. The soup’s good, sure, but the bread bowl is even better. There’s just something satisfying about eating the vessel your food came in. Imagine if you could eat all the packaging of all the food you buy? Oooee! Think of the fun you could have! And guess what? A company called Evoware wants you to do just that.
They’ve created a new packaging that’s made from seaweed, which, as I’ve mentioned before, tastes like shit. Seaweed, however, is much better for the environment–and us–than plastic, which is what most packaging is made from. Evoware’s new material is not only biodegradable, it’s edible. “Just imagine buying a burger wrapped in paper and simply wolfing down the paper with your meal,” wrote IFLScience‘s Rachel Baxter. “Maybe it could even be given a complimentary ketchup flavor? Mmmm delicious. If that doesn’t sound too appealing, you can simply chuck it on the compost, guilt-free.” As an added benefit, it dissolves in water, which will change the way you eat ramen noodles.
Based in Indonesia, Evoware is in a unique place to see the effects of how much plastic waste we spew out every day. It’s a lot–some estimates predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. It’s a pretty staggering amount–right now, some eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. That, in terms that you can understand, is about the equivalent of one garbage truck every single minute of every single day.
“The best research currently available estimates that there are over 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today,” read The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics, a report outlining our need to look at the world’s after-use plastics economy. “In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”
Evoware’s co-founder, David Christian, is very aware that something needs to be done, and something needs to be done quickly. “I saw how much plastic waste is produced here, which takes hundreds or thousands of years to degrade and contaminates everything,” he told Reuters. According to Evoware’s website, Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest plastic waste polluter, and a quarter of the fish in Indonesian market are contaminated by plastic.
Evoware’s business model has another benefit, as well. Seaweed farmers in the area are often in dire financial straits, and often produce way more seaweed than they can sell. Giving those people jobs will help both the environment and the local economy. “Our mission,” Evoware wrote on their website, “is to create innovative solutions from seaweed to solve [the] plastic waste issue, while increasing the livelihood of Indonesia’s seaweed farmers.”
As usual, though, although there are very real options for much better alternatives, the high cost is proving to be a hindrance. There’s this biodegradable water bottle, for just one example, but so far, it’s not exactly flying off the shelves. But damn it, everyone loves eating the bowl. Let us eat the bowl!