Every day, around 1.4 billion single-use plastic water bottles are sold worldwide. These bottles often end up in the natural environment, and estimates suggest that only 10% of plastic packaging is recycled. Empty bottles end up in oceans and forests, but one 12-year-old girl from Eagle Mountain, United States, has come up with a solution.
Madison Checketts, a student, decided to tackle the problem of plastic waste by designing an eco-friendly bottle made entirely of edible products. She called her project “Eco-Hero”. The bottle is made of 100% edible products and can be eaten or composted after it’s been used. To access the liquid inside, simply bite into the soft, gel-like outer layer. There are no caps or lids. The bottle is also biodegradable, so even if someone doesn’t want to eat it, they can dispose of it without guilt.
Madison was inspired to create the eco-friendly bottle after seeing the litter on the beaches in California, where she has been going on vacation with her family for years. “The beach is one of my favorite places, but seeing it covered in single-use water bottles made me realize that something had to change,” she said in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine.
In October 2021, Madison began working on her eco-friendly solution as part of a school science competition. She took first place in the competition, advanced to several more stages, and in September 2022, she was one of 30 teenage finalists in the Broadcom Masters Competition, the leading science, technology, engineering, and mathematics competition in the United States.
To create the unique bottle, Madison used a method called reverse spherification, a technique used in molecular gastronomy. This method uses a combination of calcium and alginate to create a gel-like outer layer that holds the liquid inside.
Madison’s “Eco-Hero” bottle is a simple yet innovative solution to the problem of plastic waste. It’s a great example of how young people can make a real difference in the world by using their creativity and scientific knowledge.