In a bid to reduce waste, researchers in Boston have developed a coating that can help get every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.
The coating, which makes container interiors super slippery, enables any liquid to slide out without leaving a trace.
In addition to toothpaste, the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe that the development could help cut the amount of waste from products including ketchup, cosmetics and glue.
The container is first coated on the inside with a rough surface during its manufacture. A very thin layer is then placed over this. Finally, a liquid is added that fills in any gaps to form a very slippery surface. The container’s contents then sit on top and slide out when needed.
Developer Professor Kripa Varanasi has stated that the technology is completely safe: ‘The cool thing about it is that because the coating is a composite of solid and liquid, it can be tailored to the product. So for food, we make the coating out of food-based materials and so you can actually eat it.’
When it comes to reducing waste, the technology’s co-inventor, Dr David Smith, said: ‘With the manufacture of these sticky products, there is about 200 million gallons of material each year that gets stuck to tanks and then gets washed off and thrown away. And in packages there are about 40 billion packs with material stuck in packages so the technology has the potential to significantly reduce waste.’
It is thought tomato ketchup bottles will be the first to see this technology utilised in a few years’ time.