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Survey says: Consumers hate throwing away sticky products trapped in packaging

Is there anything more frustrating than throwing away a perfectly good product? For example, toothpaste - you want to get every drop of toothpaste on your toothbrush, but there's only so much you can squeeze out of the package. As a result, you're forced to throw away some of the unused product.

Heather Caliendo

November 21, 2014

4 Min Read
Survey says: Consumers hate throwing away sticky products trapped in packaging

And as proof that consumers hate waste, LiquiGlide (the company that is working to change the way liquids move within packaging) has released survey results that clearly demonstrate consumers' intense dislike of product waste and the extreme measures many of them take to get the last few drops of everything.

Apparently consumers hate waste so much they are even willing to switch brands for ones with packaging that allows them to easily get their products out. LiquiGlide's survey of more than 1,000 consumers asked participants about their attitudes and habits related to the packaging, use, waste and disposal of sticky consumer goods. To conduct the survey, LiquiGlide asked questions that focused on waste awareness and attitudes regarding consumer waste.

Here are some highlights  

  • Consumers hate waste. When told how much shampoo, conditioner, mayonnaise, laundry detergent, toothpaste, and body lotion that the average person throws away, 89% of those surveyed responded that they think it's "a huge waste," and 85% say they hate that they're not getting the full value of what they paid for. While 57% of respondents think manufacturers are "screwing them over," almost two-thirds (60%) say what bothers them most is the wasted money.

  • They hate it more than going to the dentist or doing household chores. 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)! Waiting for the cable repairperson topped the list, with an average rating of 5.7.

  • It's not only about the lost money; it's about the principle of the matter and the environmental impact. The top reason why people hate wasting consumer goods is wasted money (60% 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% estimated between $1 and $49, and 33% estimated $50 or more worth of product wasted each year. Beyond money concerns, 20% of respondents said it's the principle of the matter that they should get everything they paid for, and 16% cited environmental concerns. 

  • Consumers are determined to get every last drop. People hate wasting consumer goods so much that nearly 40% of respondents say they won't quit until they get every last drop from the packaging. More than 60% of respondents spend more than a few minutes squeezing or scraping the last drops of product, including 15% who spend "as long as it takes." More than two-thirds (69%) say they hesitate to open a new package when there's still a tiny bit left in the previous one.

  • They'll try some unbelievable tricks to get every bit of product out of its packaging. Almost all respondents have used at least one special method to get every last drop out, from storing bottles upside-down (84%) to adding water (68%), cutting containers open (61%), using spatulas (40%) and using centrifugal force (19%). A few more zealous consumers admitted to buying special tools (12%) and pulling unfinished bottles from the trash (11%). More than 50% 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 - all to get those precious few last drops. [Okay, that's bizarre].

  • Getting the last few drops can come at a price. Almost 60% of respondents admit to making a mess; 31% have gotten product all over themselves. Another 18% admit to being the victims of farting noises from bottles, and an impressive 13% have injured themselves chasing those last few drops.

  • Wasted products are worth fighting over. 27% of the respondents who live with their significant other (182 of 665) admitted to fighting over product waste! 

  • While shampoo is frustrating, toothpaste and lotion are the worst. When asked to indicate frustration toward a list of specific viscous consumer products, respondents indicated that toothpaste and body lotion were the most frustrating, with average ratings of 5.8 based on a 10-point scale.

  • 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%; shampoo, 89%; body lotion, 88%; laundry detergent, 87%; conditioner, 85% and mayo, 80%). 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%; toothpaste, 71%; laundry detergent, 69%; shampoo, 68%; conditioner, 67% and mayo, 60%).

"We know that consumers hate waste and they're clearly expressing a need for better packaging solutions. It's a problem we take seriously," said LiquiGlide CEO Dave Smith. "Our slippery, safe coating technology can be customized to help any viscous liquid slide easily across surfaces. We are confident that our permanently wet coatings are going to become an industry standard and change the world by significantly reducing consumer waste."

So there you have it, there is something society as a whole can agree on - waste is the worst.   

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