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Gum Recycling - Turning a Sticky Situation into a Recycling Opportunity!

Mikayla Richards | July 28th, 2017

With over 3 trillion sticks of gum being made each year, that also means those trillions of pieces are being thrown away somewhere. Hopefully, all of this gum is disposed of properly, but we all know that's probably not the case. Chewed gum can be found under tables, on subway seats, stuck to the bottom of your shoe and so many other unwanted places…extremely gross. But imagine a world where you would never have to deal with the unpleasantness of finding unexpected gum again!

While we’re not quite at that point yet, chewing gum has started to be recycled which is keeping gum out of those unwanted places. Chewing gum can be recycled into pretty much any rubber or plastic item. Recycling gum will help keep gum out of the streets, prevent littering, save money and the best part is…no more gum on your shoes!


Gumdrop LTD

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Gumdrop Container is an organization in the UK that was created in 2009 by Anna Bullus. Her mission is to close the loop of gum by recycling it. The organization has two different gum recycling containers. The first one is the regular size gumdrop container. This container can be used for city streets, airports, malls and any high traffic area. Their second container is the on-the-go Gumdrop container. This container is for personal gum recycling and is perfect to put on a keychain. Both of the containers are hard to miss with their bright pink exterior representative of the traditional bubble gum color. Once either of these containers are full, they are sent back to Gumdrop and the collected gum can be used to manufacturer new Gumdrop containers.

The Gumdrop containers have been a success in shopping malls, airports and cities in reducing gum litter and saving money. When Heathrow Airport introduced the Gumdrop containers, they saved £6000 (US$ 7652) over 2 months. This money was saved because the airport did not have to pay to clean gum off the floor. Not only did the containers provide a cost saving solution, they helped reduce the waste, keep the area clean and allow gum to be reused towards something useful.


GUM-TEC

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Gumdrop developed Gum-Tec, which is the plastic/rubber material made from collected recycled gum. Gum-Tec can be used to make lunchboxes, phone cases, stationery and so many other plastic/rubber products.

Gumdrop’s newest creation is rubber boots. They are ending the problem of having gum stuck to your shoe by creating shoes! These boots do so much more than just diverting gum from the landfills. Gum My Boots has teamed up with the Small Steps Project and with every pair of boots purchased, a pair is donated to children living on the Cluj landfill in Romania. These children are exposed to toxic chemicals when living on the landfill so the shoes, and the many other items Small Steps Projects provide, help keep these children safe and give them the necessary tools to help them move out of poverty.

Another way Gumdrop is closing the loop is when you no longer want your rubber boots, you can send them back to Gumdrop and they will recycle your boots. Not only will Gumdrop reuse your boots, they will also give you a discount on your next purchase!


With all the benefits of recycling gum, hopefully cities and organizations across the world will start providing gum recycling bins. Gum recycling is a new innovation that is eliminating waste and allowing us to close the loop!

You might also be interested in:
What Is A Waste Audit?
A Brief Timeline of the History of Recycling
Designing Sustainable Containers

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