Colgate wants to save you the agony of trying to squeeze out every last drop of toothpaste. It’s doing that by partnering with LiquiGlide, a company spun out of MIT’s Varanasi Research Group, on a new toothpaste tube with a coating designed to avoid any waste.
LiquiGlide went viral in 2012 when it posted a video showing a ketchup bottle being emptied completely. The slippery coating technology that made that possible is what makes Colgate’s new Elixir toothpaste frictionless.
Millions of tons of products, from lotion to laundry detergent, are thrown out each year because they get stuck inside of their packaging, according to LiquiGlide, with 1-13% of toothpaste going to waste per tube.
LiquiGlide hopes to bring those numbers down with its technology, which it uses to custom design slippery coatings based on the product to go inside its container.
Colgate is only selling its toothpaste tubes with this special coating in Europe right now. It’s not clear if there are plans to sell it in the United States.
“We are transforming toothpaste packaging, which has been in tubes for more than a century,” LiquiGlide co-founder Kripa Varanasi said. “We are enabling clear, completely transparent, fully recyclable product that gives a superior consumer experience.”
While this is the first time consumers can buy a product of this kind, Varanasi and LiquiGlide’s other co-founder, Dave Smith, told CNN their technology could be used for anything from lotion to cream cheese. Regardless of the product, they say it’s safe for people to use.
“We’re not inventing any new chemicals,” Smith said. “We’re putting together combinations of materials in a way that creates this effect and we can do it from materials that are readily available, perfectly safe.”
For foods, the coating is made out of food ingredients that are FDA-approved, flavorless, and odorless, Smith said. Coating for health and beauty products is made out of common health and beauty product ingredients.
LiquiGlide’s technology can be used to reduce waste during manufacturing too. The company said its research has also shown the potential to reduce thrombosis and biofilms that compromise the performance of medical devices.