Is chewing gum green?
Dentists encourage you to chew it to avoid dental decay, smokers and coffee drinkers pop a gum for fresher breath and kids love the many different flavours of chewing gum. But did you know it's the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts?
In fact, chewing gum has been banned in Singapore (you need a prescription!) because they want to keep public spaces clean. The infographic below, put together by Custom Made, reveals that chewing gum is made of polymers which a type of synthetic plastic that doesn't biodegrade.
When it's chucked from your mouth directly into the pavement or sidewalk (disgustingly enough, an estimated 92% of Britian's urban paving stones are covered with chewing gum) it will sit there forever until it's removed - which can be a costly, time-consuming process. In London, in preparation for the London Olympics, the cost of removing a wad of gum was between 16 cents to $3!
Incredibly, the amount of gum we eat in a year adds up to more than 250,000 tons of waste. Gum has also been introduced in the food chain through the fish we eat, who consume the littered gum and accumulate harmful toxins.
Luckily for us, sustainable chewing gums have been produced that biodegrade with water, or naturally within 2 weeks.
Cities are also implementing specially designated gum containers to recycle littered gum into children's toys or even drainage or construction material. Over a six month period these special bins cut down on gum waste by 72%.
So, try find sustainable gums at your health store and the next time you get ready to throw your gum away, consider aiming for the bin instead of the sidewalk.
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