Have you ever wondered what was in the gum you chew every day? Or what happens to gum once we’ve finished with it? I know I didn’t!
What many people don’t realize is that the fresh breath experience we all enjoy is one of the worst causes of litter we see today. Gum comes second only to cigarette butts, and we all know the damage they’re having on the environment
So, here comes the big question:
Is Gum Biodegradable?
No, gum isn’t biodegradable; this means once the gum is made, the gum will be around for a very long time. Gum is an environmental nightmare, due to the gum’s stickiness and un-biodegradable nature.
Luckily there’s hope.
Some companies are starting to make a biodegradable chewing gum in the hope of cleaning up the streets from the sticky mess happening all over the world.
The supermarket Iceland was the first to start selling biodegradable chewing gums in their stores throughout the UK. It’s nice to see big corporations playing their part in saving the environment around us.
Hopefully, we see other chains following the competition!
Just a quick note if you think your stomach acid dissolves the bubble gum, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work. The gum will pass straight through and make a way to the sewers and into our water sources.
So, if it won’t biodegrade will it decompose?
Is Gum Bad For The Environment?
Anything that causes 100,000 tones of litter can’t be good for the environment; you only have to walk down the street to realize what affect gum is having.
The mountain of gum sits on our sidewalks until someone comes to clean it, by that time it’s far too late, the damage has been done.
It looks like governments are starting to understand the problems with gum.
Singapore had such a problem they banned chewing gum. Since then, many countries have introduced gum bins to help clean the streets; it’s been so successful it cut down gum litter by 46%.
The gum that doesn’t make into the bins, or stuck to the street in our cities, often finds it’s way into our water sources, collecting toxins along the way.
This then ends up in the fish that we consider to be food. All the toxins the gum has accumulates on its journey ends up in our food.
How can we make the trash build up more sustainable?
The only option is to place your discarded gum in the bin to be collected if everyone plays there part, we can make the world a cleaner place.
Does Gum Contain Plastic?
Many people don’t understand what gum is made from, don’t worry, you’re not alone. So, does it contain plastic?
Yes, it does!
And we all know how bad plastic is for the environment, why would we think gum is different?
Gum is made from polymers, which is a synthetic plastic. But, this isn’t the only bad thing in the gum.
Your rubbery substance is made from the following ingredients:
- Butadiene-styrene rubber Isobutylene-isoprene copolymer (butyl rubber)
- Paraffin (via the Fischer-Tropsch process)
- Petroleum wax
- Polyvinyl acetate
I’m going to explain what else this gum base is used for:
Polyethylene and Polyvinyl are found in most plastics that we use every day, that’s right, the gum we’re chewing is plastic.
Polyvinyl is also used to make glue and other adhesives. What makes it worse is, it’s same materials used to make tires and flooring.
Your sticky treat doesn’t seem that appealing now.
How Many Years Does It Take For Gum To Decompose?
Here’s the thing:
No one knows how long it will take for gum to biodegrade, it could be a thousand years before we find out, but that’s a long time to wait.
We may never know, one thing we can be sure of, is that this is not good news for the environment.
As we’ve seen with biodegradable plastics, it can take a long time for the stuff to break down, and the same is said about gum.
It’s unlikely we’re going to end up standing on a mountain of gum, but it doesn’t make it sustainable.
One of the most prolonged problems was that it wasn’t recyclable, that was until a company called Gumdrop with a base in the UK created their company.
They wanted to clean up their streets by finding a use for waste gum. They now make soles for shoes, wellington boots, and other products.
Since then, other companies have set out with the same mission. Sometimes the smallest idea makes the most significant difference.
Is PUR Gum Biodegradable?
You might have seen PUR on twitter, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ve got you covered.
PUR is a brand of chewing gum with a Canadian base. They noticed the chemicals were pretty harsh in most chewing gum, so they tried to make a healthier gum for people to use.
The problem is they didn’t make it biodegradable gum; it’s a shame the big brands aren’t getting more involved.
Hopefully, they take note and release a biodegradable version of there gum. I’ll look forward to seeing promoted links to there new gum.
This should clear up all the questions you had about gum and the dark secret of the hidden plastic. I’ll let you make your own decision about gum.
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And if you think gum is bad, then you should find out are cigarette butts biodegradable what there doing to the environment might shock you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take For Gum To Decompose?
It can take around 50 years before gum even starts to break down. But when it comes to it, the gum is likely to take over 500 years to decompose. The problem is gum is made with a rubber-like substance, which makes it very hard to decompose.
Is Gum Bad For The Environment?
Yes, gum is bad for the environment, and that’s because 80-90% of gum is not disposed of correctly. In fact, chewing gum is the second most common litter found on the streets. Chewing gum is bad from a synthetic plastic, luckily more sustainable gum is on the market. It uses all-natural materials.
Which Gums Are Biodegradable?
There are a few biodegradable chewing gums on the market, but one of the best is Natural Mayan Chewing gum. It’s the first organic and sustainable fully biodegradable chewing gum on the market.