In case you didn't know, every 27 hours, Americans--just Americans!--drink enough bottled water to put those bottles end to end and reach around the entire equator. So to state the obvious, we've got a bit of a plastic problem on our hands. But startup Skipping Rocks Lab has come up with a concept that might just help out with that.

What are these crazy things?

Ooho is 'water you can eat' -- or, basically biodegradable water spheres spheres. They're made by dipping ice balls into an algae mixture, which forms a seal and contains the ice when it melts back into water. When you want some water, just bite the sphere, or pop the whole ball in your mouth and eat the membrane, too.

Can't go everywhere, but still valuable

As Mike Wehner of BGR points out, these aren't something you're going to stuff in a bag, as they're delicate. They still need some packaging to be transported to stores where you actually can get your hands on them. So in that sense, they're probably a no-go in replacing plastic bottles entirely.

But the product still has an excellent niche market. For example, they could be stocked at gyms, especially since it would be easy for serious athletes to track their water intake by the number of spheres they go through. Their real opportunity, however, is outdoor events. Think festivals, carnivals, field days, and marathons. The spheres would be both convenient and reduce cleanup at these types of venues.

Even if Ooho only rises to fame in the above niches, it hones in on the future of packaging in general. We simply cannot afford to keep using materials that don't decompose well, and researchers already are exploring packaging options like milk proteins, for example. We still need to address handling issues so we're not passing along germs with those edibles, of course, but it's a start.