Bright pink bins keep gum at bay

Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New bright pink bins have been installed to keep chewing gum at bay, following a successful trial in Clapham Junction and Tooting Broadway tube stations.

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The eye-catching pink bins have been placed outside Putney Station, Chestnut Grove (outside Chestnut Grove School) and Beechcroft Road (outside Ernest Bevin School) with more to come on Battersea Park Road, outside Harris Academy and Wandsworth High Street, outside South Thames College in a bid to encourage people to put their gum in the bin rather than drop it on the pavement.

Once the bin is full, the state-of-the-art Gumdrop bins will be taken away and all the waste gum inside one bin will be recycled to make three more bins. The bins, which are part of the council’s MyWandsworth campaign to keep the borough looking clean and tidy, will not only improve the local environment but will contribute to reduced cleaning costs for the council.

“This week, 21-27 September, is recycle week, which highlights that despite everything that’s happened this year more people than ever are taking responsibility for protecting the environment by choosing to recycle,” said Councillor Steffi Sutters, Cabinet member for community services and open spaces.

“These bins are just one way that people can help do their bit and continue this trend; giving people something to use to get rid of their gum which is then recycled.

“As well as being used to manufacture more gum drop bins, the gum is also turned into all sorts of plastic products, which will significantly help reduce the amount of virgin plastics and single use plastics being used.

“So when you see the bins, please do use them. They prevent litter and are good for the environment. And if that’s not enough of reason, remember the contents are recycled too.”

Anna Bullus, the founder of Gumdrop Ltd, explains more about gum drop, and what she found in the areas where the bins are going, “Having looked at the areas where the new bins are going in, there is definitely a problem with gum litter,” said Anna.

“We are the first company in the world to recycle and process used gum into new compounds and we hope that this will encourage people to responsibly dispose of their waste gum, which will go towards helping Wandsworth Council achieve their corporate social responsibility goals.”

Wandsworth has set itself an ambitious goal to be inner-London’s greenest council – with the target of being carbon neutral by 2030 and a zero-emission council by 2050. A key part of this vision is about protecting the local environment in as many ways as possible.

Chewing gum is a synthetic rubber that comes from fossil fuels and recycling the gum is one such way of protecting the local environment. Providing bins to collect and capture chewing gum will also hopefully encourage gum chewers to dispose of their chewing gum responsibly.

This is just one of the many ways – like the SMART bins installed in 2019 – where the council is turning to technology and innovative solutions to keep our borough looking at its best.

Anna goes on to explain how the gum drop bins encourage people to do the right thing, “We want to give people the choice to recycle their gum. By dropping their gum in a Gumdrop they are doing more than just helping to clean up their communities streets, they are also helping to reduce the amount of plastic that gets used.

“Our ethos as a company is that if we can change something as small as dropping a piece of gum on the floor, we can go as far as to create positive change regarding littering and green issues as a whole.”

And the facts speak for themselves. “We’ve also had some fantastic results with universities,” said Anna, “where our bins have saved them between £18,000 and £25,000 a year on cleaning bills. Many people are amazed when you tell them that the cost of removing one piece of gum is between 30p and £1.50!”