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Drink up, then eat the glass – the trend for edible food packaging and tableware

From The Guardian

Picture the scene. You’re at a party, drinking a cocktail. Once you’ve sipped, you eat the glass. Sounds a little on the wild side, but for Chelsea Briganti, co-founder of edible tableware start-up Loliware, the edible glasses are an environmental no-brainer.

“You can throw them in the grass or disintegrate them in a matter of minutes with hot water,” she explains. The problem with disposable cups – including those made from corn plastic – is that they take months and sometimes years to degrade, often leaking chemicals in the process. “For every cup eaten [or composted], we are saving a plastic cup from entering the landfill,” says Briganti. “Billions of plastic cups are entering the landfill every year. If Loliware replaces even a small percentage, that would have far-reaching impact.”

And from edible glasses to bubbles of food. WikiPearls are small balls of food covered in an edible casing that mimics the design of the skin of soft fruit. These are the creation of food-technology connoisseur and Harvard bioengineer David Edwards. He believes the technology can be applied to contain any liquid, emulsion, foam or solid food substance and create any flavour. The resulting “bubble” can be carried around in your pocket and rinsed before consuming, in the same way as you might wash an apple before eating it.

Similar to WikiPearls with a fruit-like skin is the Ooho!, an edible water bottle created by three students at Imperial College London. Initial demonstrations suggest that the product would need to be scaled up if it’s to hold a significant amount of water and become commercially viable. The technology has potential though, says Edwards. “People in a village in Africa could become plastic-bottle-free and make things for themselves,” he told the Harvard Crimson in 2012. “It’s really exciting from a humanitarian point of view.”

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