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This 12-Year-Old Designed a Water Bottle You Can Eat

Plastic products like water bottles are designed as single-use items intended to be thrown out after use. Checketts stumbled upon a website focused on reverse spherification-a method of enclosing a liquid in a gel membrane-and wondered if she could make an edible water bottle using this process. The idea to add lemon juice to the water solution and use it as a preservative for the water bottle stemmed from her fifth-grade school science fair project, which focused on keeping strawberries from molding by coating them in lemon juice. One such product is the edible Ooho water bottle developed in 2014 by former Imperial College London design students Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche. Checketts was inspired by their work, but she wanted to make an edible water bottle that was bigger and more durable. The Ooho water bottles hold about 50 milliliters of water, whereas the Eco-Hero holds four times that at about 200 milliliters. Several secondary issues would need to be addressed before the product could be sold or used on a large scale, Rittschof adds, but the concept of being able to eat the water bottle is a "Really good idea." As Checketts thinks about the future of the Eco-Hero, she says she wants to run more tests to improve the water bottle and make it resealable, stronger and bigger. She imagines her invention could be used during marathons or races-as runners stop for water, they'd be able to grab an Eco-Hero, drink the water and either eat or dispose of the membrane before continuing to run.

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