Skipping Rocks Lab is an innovative sustainable packaging start-up that is pioneering the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed to create packaging with a low environmental impact. Their first product, Ooho, is set to revolutionise the water-on-the-go market. It’s a biodegradable water ball with natural membrane, which can be fully swallowed and digested, hydrating people in the same way as drinking water would. The product is made from a seaweed extract and is tasteless, although flavours can be added. The spherical flexible packaging can also be used for other liquids including soft drinks, spirits and cosmetics.

How they’re disrupting

By becoming the leading global producer of seaweed-based packaging, Skipping Rocks Lab looks set to disrupt the plastics industry. To create the balls, a block of ice is dipped in a solution of calcium chloride and brown algae, and the membrane forms around it. A layer can be peeled off to keep the exterior clean for consumption. Importantly, Skipping Rocks Lab says the material is cheaper than producing a plastic water bottle.

Disruption potential

Roughly 1 billion plastic bottles end up in the ocean annually. The company’s goal is to create waste-free alternatives to plastic bottles, cups and plates.

Investments and future

Skipping Rocks Lab has raised close to £850,000 on crowdfunding site CrowdCube, with investments spiking since images of the Ooho balls went viral. The company plans to trial the use of the balls this year, introducing them at major events such as marathons and music festivals.