Have you ever tried to put ketchup on your fries, only to have it get stuck to the bottle and take ages to come out? One new invention might make those moments a thing of the past.
A new company, LiquiGlide, has recently invented a surface that is permanently wet and slippery. It can be used to coat the insides of bottles and containers so that whatever substance is inside it—be it ketchup, honey, shampoo, paint, oil, or pretty much any substance imaginable—won’t stick to the surface.
Usually when the product gets too inconvenient to retrieve from a container, it just gets cleaned out and recycled or thrown away. But even when products like toiletries or condiments are recycled, there is still waste associated with their purchase. At the end of a shampoo or ketchup bottle’s life cycle, there is generally some product left in the bottle that just can’t be gotten out and used without much difficulty and frustration. Best case scenario, these bottles are cleaned out and recycled. While recycling is a great step in the right direction to becoming more environmentally friendly, this doesn’t eliminate all waste associated with the purchase. Even when this happens, waste is still being accumulated in the form of the leftover gunk that was stuck to the inside of the bottle.
This tiny bit of product, whether it be the last impossible squeeze of toothpaste or the stubborn peanut butter on the side of the jar, might seem pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things. However, when you consider all of the consumers who purchase these products, the numbers start to add up.
Say that for every 26.05 oz jar of peanut butter, there is one tablespoon spread out on the sides of the jar that is just too inconvenient to be worth scraping off. For just one person, this tablespoon doesn’t seem like much. It wouldn’t even adequately cover a slice of bread. But each year, hundreds of millions of jars of peanut butter are sold in the U.S. alone. Assuming that a tablespoon of each jar goes to waste, for every million people that buy peanut butter, and equivalent 3,906 ¼ gallons of peanut butter are thrown out.
When thought of this way, the amount of waste produced by inefficient containers is put into perspective.
LiquiGlide’s invention has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of waste that gets unintentionally left behind on the sticky insides of containers. This technology is the first of its kind, but hopefully won’t be the last. Currently, LiquiGlide has an exclusive licensing agreement with Elmer’s, best known for their glue. In the upcoming years, it will be interesting to see how this technology is incorporated into their product. If successful, we might see a revolution within the packaging industry, and a major reduction in the waste we produce.
Never wait for your ketchup again: