Chewing Gum – Sustainable Alternatives

Chewing Gum – Sustainable Alternatives

Chewing gum is consumed by millions of people every year.  Over £14 billions spent on chewing gums globally.  Like Marmite, you may love it or hate it. Singapore has banned its import since 1992. However, over £60 million was spent to clean up Britain’s streets of carelessly disposed of chewing gum in 2018.

The mastication of tree resins and tree roots is an age-old pastime enjoyed by many including by Mayans, Aztecs and Ancient Greeks. Yet, modern day chewing gums derive from synthetic rubber. Goodyear (car tyres) manufactures the base for the largest gum brands. Gum base consists of infinite recipes.  The three main ingredients are elastomer, resin and wax.  Elastomer comprises synthetic rubbers which give elasticity. Resin whether natural or synthetic makes the gum chewable and wax softens the gum. Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners enhance the flavour. Because of the high synthetic content, modern chewing gums are for mastication and disposal but not for ingestion.

Let’s look at sustainable alternatives to these synthetic chewing gums. First, we’ll look at 4 products made of natural ingredients.  These items are all biodegradable, sustainable and free of plastic products. Lastly, we’ll look at the recycling option available for plastic based chewing gum waste. 

Natural Chewing Gums

1. Bee Gum is a chewing gum made of organic ingredients. Such as organic gum base, evaporated cane juice, glucose, agave syrup, flavour and seeds. They design this product to be discarded. Ideally, thrown away as it contains seeds. Therefore, cultivating flowers for bees. Snapdragon, Lavender, Cosmo aster and mignonette are some seeds used in this product. By chewing this gum and throwing it away, people are encouraging bees.

Bee Gum
Bee Gumm - product idea by Cansu Emine Goksu & Matteo Van Riel. Source: Cansu Goksu

2. Simply Gum contains only organic and natural ingredients.  Chicle, raw cane sugar, vegetable glycerine, rice flour and naturally extracted flavours. A biodegradable product free of any synthetic products, no GMO and free of artificial sweeteners. 

3. Chicza is extracted from the chicozapote tree in the Mayan forest via a sustainable method.  This 100% natural chewing gum is organically certified and biodegradable. Flavours include mixed berries, spearmint, mint, lime and cinnamon.

4. Chewsy comprises 5 plant-based materials. Xylitol, chicle gum base, natural flavour, gum Arabic and sunflower lecithin. No sugar, aspartame, artificial sweeteners and flavours used.

Recycling Plastic based Chewing Gums

5. Gumdrop gives a second life to chewing gums, from mobile phone covers, shoes, stationery, wellington boots, and packaging. Processed chewing gums can become a vast number of things.  Check out the video below…

Which of these products have you tried?

Feature Image:

Chewing gum
Chewing gum. Image Taylor Rooney | Unsplash.

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