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A healthier earth friendly option for gum

It is an environmental scourge that saddles local government with clean-up bills running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. But today the world’s first biodegradable chewing gum is arriving on British supermarket shelves, potentially putting to an end the sticky mess caused by the conventional product.

Chicza Rainforest Gum is manufactured in Mexico by Consorcio Chiclero – a consortium of 56 co-operatives employing some 2,000 chicleros (gum farmers) and their families. The workers extract natural gum from the sap of the chicle tree, which is then used to make the product.

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Unlike conventional chewing gum, which contains petrochemicals, the organic chewing gum does not stick to clothing or pavements. And once disposed of, it will crumble to dust in about six weeks, dissolving harmlessly in water or being absorbed into the soil.

Chicza comes in lime, mint and spearmint flavours, and is going on sale at Waitrose for £1.39 a packet.

It is costly and difficult to remove conventional chewing gum from public places because of its chemical content, with cleaning typically costing between 10p and 30p per piece. It takes 17 weeks for chewing gum to be removed from the entire length of Oxford Street in London, for example, but only 10 days for it to be littered with gum again.

A spokesman for Encams, which runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign said: “While we welcome any product that could potentially alleviate the worst problems of staining, the real solution remains for people to put gum in the bin or – if there isn’t one around – in a piece of paper or tissue until they find one.”Chicza Rainforest Gum

via Arbroath

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