This Color-Changing Bottle Will Tell You if Your Milk Is Spoiled

We’ve all been there – standing helplessly in front of the fridge wondering how long the milk has actually been in there before opening the top only to face a cringe-worthy smell. Now, thanks to the plastics-and-chemical company Braskem, our late-night whiffs of rancid dairy products might be put to bed for good.

Braskem has developed a way to make plastic beverage and food containers change color when the pH levels of their contents shift, which is a big hint that something is starting to spoil.

"Braskem has got the advantages of scale and they are well known in this particular sector for a good quality product," communications director for the Active and Intelligent Packing Industry Association, Andrew Manly said.

According to Braskem’s director of technology and innovation, Patrick Teyssonneyre, the idea originally spurred four years ago in Brazil.

"In the country [Brazil] we've seen food that was contaminated, or the package was violated and food contaminated in the production or transportation process, or in the supermarket," Teyssonneyre said.

Braskem pitched their idea for the new technology on the basis that many consumers still seem to be confused about what “sell by” dates actually mean, ultimately using the see/smell test to determine whether or not the item is edible.

According to the NRDC, Americans throw away $218 billion worth of food each year. With standardized date labels, the anti-food waste coalition ReFED estimates that the U.S. could save more than $2 billion annually.

But, even with an idea as solid as Braskem’s, experts say it’s going to take a while before consumers and cost-conscious retailers hop on board.

"If this company really wanted to succeed, they would need to partner with not only a food manufacturer, but a retailer," Professor Claire Koelsch Sand said.

"Even if you are looking at a penny additional for your packaging, when you multiply that over a million pieces of packaging it gets cost prohibitive pretty quickly," senior director of sustainability at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Meghan Stasz added.

Even so, Braskem says it hopes to find a partner and begin shelving the containers within the next two to three years.

[Feature Image by Unsplash]