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Gum Hacks: How a Clever Idea is Giving Old Chewing Gum a New Purpose

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10 years ago, British designer Anna Bullus began a project on what could be done about the litter found everywhere on the streets. Out of the scraps of paper, and empty food containers, one thing that stuck out to her was that nothing was being done to recycle the chewed gum that littered every corner of her city.  This finding led her to research the chemistry of the gum, and try to come up with her own solution. 

First thing was first, how would she collect the chewed gum?

Pink colored storage bin made from recycled bubble gum


Enter the bins shaped like pink bubble gum, she named Gumdrop. The bins were placed around The University of Winchester. 

 Travel cups make out of recycled gum

The gum collected was recycled and used to make pink coffee cups. 

Within 18 months, the campus noticed a drop in chewing gum litter, and the project began to grow. The next testing zone was Heathrow Airport, which quickly saw a cut in maintenance costs. 

Bullus had a difficult time finding willing participants to get her vision off the ground, but, eventually she got in touch with a recycling plant who took the challenge head on. 

Plastic injection moulding machine ejecting recycled bubble gum paste for molding new objects

A mixture containing recycled plastic and about 20% of the recycled gum is created, heated to a high temperature before being pushed through an injection machine, and later molded to the finish product.  

This ingenious idea proves that, even something as small as chewed up bubblegum on the side of the street, can lead to lessening the negative impacts of at least one city's litter problem. 

Source: World Hacks: A surprising new afterlife for chewing gum, by Dougal Shaw

Comments on this post (2)

  • Oct 31, 2022

    I love this. If you look at the area surrounding restaurant drive-thru you will probably find loads of gum on the pavement. Here in Texas, it doesn’t take long for our 100+ summer season to melt the gum into the ground… and unfortunately some knuckleheads stick their gum to the wall of the restaurant (smart not). I’ve witnessed both of these and probably guilty of one in my teens or young-adulthood.

    I think this recycling and repurpose of gum into art is absolutely beautiful for all involved… even us who’ve contributed to the art.

    — Head Honcho

  • Oct 21, 2020

    Inventory is newer version gumballs machines and biggest challenge today lasted for years 12 years to 20 with a fresh cold peace of gumballs mechanical engineering cost the same amount as the highest level holding up 120thousand peace as well others pay for 3500 hundred dollars or 2600 dollars to 2100 on size of your bubble wrap holds up gumballs quality of size 9 size

    — Brandon Goodman

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