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Seaweed is a great addition to sushi, but it's also being used to cut plastic waste


JAKARTA, Indonesia (Circa) -- Seaweed may be a great addition to a California roll, but now it's also being used to cut down on plastic waste.

In 2016, 26-year-old David Christian launched the startup Evoware after noticing the amount of plastic waste in his community in Jakarta, Indonesia.

And Christian's observation lines up with the findings from a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. According to the study, of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that's been produced, about 6.3 billion metric tons became plastic waste.

According to Evoware's website, some of that plastic waste is even impacting the fishing market. The startup notes that about 25 percent of fish in the Indonesian market are contaminated by plastic.

Christian launched Evoware in hopes of becoming "the eco-solution for plastic waste problems."

Now, he is making edible cups, cones and other products from seaweed.

The edible cup, "ElloJello," is made by mixing powdered seaweed with boiling water. Then, the mixture is poured into moulds and placed in the refrigerator to harden.

Evoware's website notes that the seaweed products function like plastic, but they can can biodegrade in about 30 days.

Christian told the Associated Press he decided to use seaweed because Indonesia is one of the biggest producers in the world.

Beyond the direct environmental benefits, Christian said he sees his business as an educational tool as well.

"We can educate people in a fun way," he said. "They can drink and also eat the glass. So, [it's] something unique, that's not existed before. People who do not care will buy our glasses. When they buy them, we'll say thank you for their participation in reducing the usage of plastic glasses."

Although the ElloJello cups aren't mass produced yet, Christian is looking at other ways to use seaweed as an alternative to plastic.

Evoware is currently developing a line of seaweed-based sachet packaging that's meant for dry and liquid foods.

According to the startup's website, Evoware has developed a coffee sachet and a dry seasoning sachet, both of which can dissolve in warm water.

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