Even in countries where tap water is abundant, it's hard to convince people to give up bottled water. But a student from the Iceland Academy of Arts is hoping to change that by using algae as an alternative to non-biodegradable plastic, dezeen reports.

The eco-friendly water bottle is the brainchild of product design student Ari Jónsson. He presented his invention at last month's DesignMarch festival. The container was created by mixing powdered agar, an algae product, with water to form a jelly-like substance. He was able to form this into the shape of a bottle by pouring the heated-up material into a mold and allowing it to set in ice-cold water.

The final product is sturdy enough to carry liquid, and it starts breaking down as soon as it's empty. Jónsson admits that the water may develop an unintended flavor if it sits in the bottle for too long, but even then it's totally safe to drink. Some people may even prefer the algae-infused taste, and in that case the bottle itself is also safe to nibble on.

Eighty percent of the water bottles we purchase end up sitting in landfills, and of those, some could take up to 1000 years to decompose. Scientists are discovering creative ways to tackle this issue (plastic-munching bacteria is one of them) but any serious changes will need to start with consumers themselves.

[h/t dezeen]