Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Survey:
Consumers Hate Product Waste More Than Going to the Dentist

This week, LiquiGlide Inc. — creator of a coating for the insides of food containers that helps coax out every last drop — released survey results that clearly illustrate consumers' intense dislike of product waste.

LiquiGlide surveyed participants about their attitudes and habits related to the packaging, use, waste and disposal of sticky consumer goods, asking questions that focused on waste awareness and attitudes regarding consumer waste. The results offer insight into the depth of people’s hatred for wasting consumer goods, the reasons why and just how determined they are to get every last drop.

Highlights:

  • Consumers hate waste. When told how much of common household and food products the average person throws away, 89 percent of those surveyed responded that they think it's "a huge waste," and 85 percent say they hate that they're not getting the full value of what they paid for. While 57 percent of respondents think manufacturers are "screwing them over," almost two-thirds (60 percent) say what bothers them most is the wasted money.
  • They hate it more than going to the dentist. When asked to rate their dislike for certain activities on a scale of 1-10, wasting consumer products (average: 4.8) topped going to the dentist (4.3) and doing chores (4.2), and tied paying taxes (4.8) — falling into second place behind waiting for the cable repairperson (5.7).
  • It's not only about money; it's about the principle and the environmental impact. The top reason people hate wasting consumer goods is wasted money (60 percent of respondents). When asked how much money they thought they lost annually because they couldn't get to the last few drops of product, 60 percent estimated between $1 and $49, and 33 percent estimated $50 or more worth of product wasted each year. Beyond money concerns, 20 percent of respondents said it's the principle of the matter that they should get everything they paid for, and 16 percent cited environmental concerns.
  • Consumers are determined to get every last drop. People hate wasting consumer goods so much that nearly 40 percent of respondents say they won't quit until they get every last drop from the packaging. More than 60 percent of respondents spend more than a few minutes squeezing or scraping the last drops of product, including 15 percent who spend "as long as it takes." More than two-thirds (69 percent) say they hesitate to open a new package when there's still a tiny bit left in the previous one.
  • So they get creative. Almost all respondents have used at least one special method to get every last drop out, from storing bottles upside-down (84 percent) to adding water (68 percent), cutting containers open (61 percent), using spatulas (40 percent) and using centrifugal force (19 percent). A few more zealous consumers admitted to buying special tools (12 percent) and pulling unfinished bottles from the trash (11 percent). More than 50 percent of respondents said they have their own tricks. When asked for the "craziest way" they've gotten product out of its packaging, respondents admitted to smashing, heating, stepping on, licking, sucking and biting the package.
  • The price of those last few drops? Almost 60 percent of respondents admitted to making a mess; another 18 percent reported farting noises from bottles, and an impressive 13 percent have injured themselves. And 27 percent of respondents who live with their significant other (182 of 665) admitted to fighting over product waste.
  • Consumers crave a solution. The overwhelming majority of respondents said they were willing to try new packaging if it enabled them to get products out easily (toothpaste, 93 percent; shampoo, 89 percent; body lotion, 88 percent; laundry detergent, 87 percent; conditioner, 85 percent and mayo, 80 percent). The survey also revealed interesting data about brand loyalty – most respondents are willing to switch brands for ones with more efficient packaging (body lotion, 74 percent; toothpaste, 71 percent; laundry detergent, 69 percent; shampoo, 68 percent; conditioner, 67 percent and mayo, 60 percent).
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