[Image above] Credit: Saucestream, YouTube
Nothing quite says summer like a good old-fashioned barbecue, and many people will likely fire up their grills this weekend to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States. But along with generating enjoyable summer memories, cookouts can also generate a lot of waste if you rely on single-use plastic and paper products for serving food.
Reusable or compostable utensils and dishes can help you achieve a zero-waste picnic. So can buying condiments such as ketchup in glass bottles, which can be recycled much more effectively than plastic containers.
However, I am the first to acknowledge that shaking ketchup from a glass bottle is cumbersome compared to squeezing a plastic bottle. That is because ketchup is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning its viscosity is dependent on shear rate. Thus, you must hit a pressure sweet spot to get ketchup flowing from the bottle, which is hard to do when the bottle is rigid glass rather than squishable plastic.
While you could experiment with shaking the bottle until you find its sweet spot, two entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom recently proposed a way to give glass bottles the squeezability factor.
Peter Neath and Ian Worton are engineers with a background in the motor trade. As lifelong barbecue fanatics, these two friends developed and patented a unique open bar grill system called Grillstream in the mid-2000s that prevents fat and oil from dripping onto a grill’s heat source.
In 2009, Neath and Worton appeared on the British business reality television series Dragons’ Den, similar to the American series Shark Tank, to pitch their technology to established venture capitalists. Though they did not secure any deals on the show, the show generated interest that led to them successfully licensing Grillstream to several manufacturers worldwide.
This March, Neath and Worton returned to the Dragons’ Den for a second time to pitch a new device that aims to overcome the ketchup-stuck-in-glass conundrum. Called Saucestream, these silicon rubber squeezers attach to the end of glass bottles and allow you to squeeze out the contents much like a plastic bottle. The squeezers come in several shapes to match various name-brand ketchup and sauce glass bottles.
Unlike their initial appearance on Dragons’ Dean, this time Neath and Worton walked away with a successful deal for the Saucestream squeezers—leading, hopefully, to less plastic waste and more squeezers appearing in restaurants near you!