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Gumdrop gives chewing gum a second life

Gumdrop

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
United Kingdom
City: 
London

Language for original content:

Project elaborated in partnership: 
No
Start/End date: 
01/2009
Ongoing: 
No
Expected end date: 
07/2019

Type of funding:

Description: 

Gumdrop Ltd, founded by Anna Bullus in 2009 to tackle the global problem of chewing gum litter, is the first company in the world to recycle and process chewing gum into a range of new compounds that can be used in the rubber and plastics industry. As chewing gum is made of "polysobutylene" (also used for inner tubes of bycicle wheels), which is obtained from petrochemicals, there is opportunity to recycle the material.

Gumdrop Ltd uses a closed loop recycling process, Gum-tec®, to manufacture bins known as Gumdrop and Gumdrop on-the-go. These pink receptacles, designed specifically for the disposal of waste chewing gum, look like strawberry flavored bubble gum bubbles, a fun, colourful replacement for the common blank eyesore of the white splodge. Once it is full, the whole Gumdrop along with its contents of waste gum is recycled and processed to manufacture new Gumdrops, and the cycle starts again.

Gumdrop Ltd also collaborates with manufacturers and companies globally to manufacture products ranging from Wellington boots to mobile phone covers, stationery and so on from recycled and processed chewing gum.

For more information about the Gumdrop process, view the video below:

Main results: 

Collecting chewing gum litter and recycling this into new compounds for the plastics and rubber industry produces large environmental and economic savings:

  • while chewing gum costs £ 0.03 (in the UK), removing just one piece costs local authorities up to £ 1.50, who spend around £50m each year cleaning gum off the streets,
  • when Gumdrops were first launched in 2011, they reduced gum litter by 46% in the first 12 weeks,
  • when Heathrow airport installed Gumdrops on its premises, this provided around 7,000 € in monthly savings.

Recycling and processing chewing gum:

  • reduces the amount of oil used in plastics production,
  • saves money,
  • cleans up our streets and
  • goes towards corporate social responsible goals.

Gumdrops have been installed at private companies such as Legoland, BAA, Royal Mail, Amey, ISS and Westfield Shopping Centres, as well as in towns and cities, eg. Bangor, North Wales as part of local authority schemes to reduce chewing gum litter.