So this is for the a fair few who don’t that the average Chewing Gum contains plastic! Yes folks, this is not the packaging this is the gum itself.
In the past Gum used to break down completely as it was made of natural products but now not so much. As Thomas notes “Today the ubiquitous ingredient ‘gum base’ is label shorthand for an alphabet soup of potentially toxic ingredients” – one of which is now plastic.
This does make me sad on many levels. I personally love gum! I haven’t been buying it as I suspected the product was wrapped in a layer of plastic and had heard in passing a few years ago that plastic was in gum. However, I still miss chewing gum.
We use it a lot and spend a fare amount of cash on it – 50% of adults age 15 upwards chew gum and only two companies – Wringley and Cadbury get the lion’s share of that profit (they control 60 % of the chewing gum market) (Thomas, 2010).
For those who aren’t too worried about gum containing plastic I want to offer a recycling solution (which although does involve in investing more in more plastic – all of it will be recycled).
I heard about these guys on the radio a few days ago:
http://gumdropltd.com/ – have a click if you chew gum1
They are a company who have found a way of making new products out of recycled gum. You can even buy (if you click on their website) a thing to put your waste gum in on the go which if you send to them they will send you something they have recycled in return.
Alternatives to Standard Chewing Gum
http://www.peppersmith.co.uk/ – These guys are epic as they are both passionate and very very helpful. They also produce chewing gum that has no animal products in – so good for vegan/veggie folks out there. However, these guys aren’t plastic free and were really great at explaining this – apparently they use a mix of both natural and man-made, food grade rubber in their gum base. They also wrap their pack in cellophane to protect against tampering.
They told me of a couple of American based natural gum – one is called Chicza which delivers in the U.K. and can do orders from as little as 99p it would seem – I intend to check this one out when I feel the need to buy more gum.
Completely plastic free in their base (can’t promise on their packaging but do ask!)
Simply Gum – https://www.simplygum.com/ – The company currently only trades in America but this is worth a mention for my American friends.
One thing to bear in mind is that these natural products are sweetened with – you guessed it – sugar, which is less great for your teeth (although there maybe ups to them not containing aspartame as well as plastic!)
Anyway, for now I am savouring my last few (slowly getting harder) pre-bought / Christmas present gum and am then going to explore Chicza gum alongside other things like fresh mint – and will report back!
Thomas, P. (2010) Behind the Label: chewing gum. Accessed on 11th March 2016 from http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/396637/behind_the_label_chewing_gum.html