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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Get the Last Drop:
New Marketing Opportunities in a Resource-Constrained World

What’s your favorite way to get at that last dollop of Crest? Do you flatten as you go? Slice the neck?What about shampoo or conditioner? Do you add a little water and swirl? Prop the bottle upside down in a corner? You are not alone! As the Wall Street Journal has noted, an increasing number of consumers are shaking, rattling and rolling their packages in search of the last drop, ounce and morsel — and for good reason.

According to the scientific pounders and pummellers at Consumer Reports up to 25 percent of the LaPrairie and Lubriderm get left behind, as well as up to 16 percent of the Tide.

Product waste

Although practiced by a slightly obsessive group of consumers for ages, according to the Journal, this behavior ‘has accelerated since the recession across a wide swath of ages and incomes.’ Environmentally speaking, these drips and drops, like Tip O’Neill’s ‘billion here and billion there,’ add up to ‘real money’ and real impact in the aggregate, when one takes into account not only the product and package, but also the transportation and resulting emissions.

Inventors, Start Your Engines

But not every consumer sees getting at the last drop as a chance to experience the thrill of the hunt, even in the quest to ‘save the planet.’

Got a Package That’s Hard to Mine for the Last Dollops?

Oxo Good Grips markets a silicone spatula that is specially shaped to reach the bottom edges and under the rims of jars of all shapes and sizes. Clorox now equips its sprayer bottles of Windex and other cleaners with ’Smart Tube Technology’ that evacuates up to 98 percent of product (versus 75 percent for conventional dip tubes) without the angling and other gymnastics. And a coating called LiquiGlide is reportedly getting ready to hit the shelves in 2015, lining packages of big name brands of toothpaste, mayo and paint.

My mailbox is becoming a magnet for gadgets designed to pick up where package design leaves off. Two of the most recent arrivals include The Spatty, a tiny spatula that helps women get at the last dabs of pricey creams and cosmetics. When consumers are struggling to retrieve the last ounce of Palmolive liquid to generate one more sinkful of suds, there’s My Botto, a colorful plastic stand that holds bottles upside down, letting gravity do the work.

How Much Anti-Perspirant Do You Throw Away?

What other opportunities lurk for ingenious solutions to get at those nagging bits of product left on the sides and bottoms of jars, bottles, tubs and tubes? I for one pridefully share my own strategy for getting at that last half inch of Secret that lies just out of reach. If there is an ingenious tinkerer out there who can solve this problem for consumers not willing to jerry-rig a solution like mine, riches await. As being discussed energetically by the many waste-watchers who frequent and other fora, other packages in need of a boost in evacuation include round salt boxes, metal soup cans with pull-top lids — even some squeezable mayo bottles may not be sufficiently squeezable to get the job done.


Since launching WeHateToWaste in January 2013, we have brought together a community of consumers that delightedly pries, pulls, wraps and rolls in order to get the last drop from everything they buy. Quick to grab a cloth shopping bag, switch off the lights, and ditch the disposable everything, they are leading the way to a new, ‘no-waste’ lifestyle needed to help all consumers thrive in the resource-constrained years projected to come. As I pointed out here last month, they are inspired by waste-prevention practices the world over to live leaner and comfortably.

If learning about mindful consumer strategies and more efficient ways of doing things intrigues you, please stop by, and join in on the many important conversations that are taking place 24/7. If you would like to learn more about partnering with us, check out our special PPT on SlideShare. If you personally hate to see things go to waste and want to talk to me directly, pick up the phone right away. With 9.5 billion people expected by 2050, there’s not a moment to waste!


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