SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – It can be frustrating for all consumers trying to get the last drops of shampoo or dish soap out of the container, but think twice before you throw those bottles away—you may be throwing away more than you realized.

Mary Rasmussen is on social security. She is a firm believer in making everything last – from toothpaste to Bengay.

When Rasmussen ran out of her favorite lotion, she didn’t squeeze the bottle, but she cut the bottle open. Much to her surprise, Rasmussen said nearly a half cup of lotion still remained in the bottle. She said a half cup of lotion can last her a whole month.

“I was a bit shocked…to find that much in this little container was pretty much a shock,” Rasmussen said.

After finding so much leftover lotion, Rasmussen decided to take her scissors to everything from cleaning supplies to personal care items. She found that containers that stand on one end are the worst offenders while liquid containers with screw-off caps were the most efficient.

Sacramento district attorney, Doug Whaley works in the consumer unit and says they get complaints every day, up to a hundred or so every month. Whaley says lots of containers have false bottoms or non-functioning empty spaces.

He said that some businesses don’t realize they’re breaking the law, but his unit makes sure that containers modify their packaging to be more efficient.

If you think you’ve been shortchanged by problematic packaging, you can contact your district attorney’s consumer unit.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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