We’ve all experienced it. Walking down the sidewalk and stepping on a piece of gross, sticky chewing gum. Just the other day I noticed it on the tire of my car. While it may have several cognitive benefits, such as increased mental focus, chewing gum is the second most-common form of litter (cigarette butts are number one at 1.7 billion pounds a year). Not to mention, it costs millons of dollars a year to clean up. And one London-based start-up is doing something about it.
Gumdrop Ltd., founded by product designer Anna Ballus in 2009, is the first company in the world to recycle chewing gum into a range of new polymers that can be used in the rubber and plastics industry.
According to its website, Gumdrop Ltd. has been founded on a closed loop recycling process. Gum-tec is used to manufacture the Gumdrop and Gumdrop on-the-go, pink receptacles designed specifically for the disposal of waste chewing gum. Gumdrops are bright pink and look like strawberry flavored bubble gum bubbles, a fun, colorful replacement for the common blank eyesore of the white splodge. Once the Gumdrop is full, the whole Gumdrop along with its contents of waste gum is recycled and processed to manufacture new Gumdrops, the cycle then starts again.
The company has also invented a mini version called ‘Gumdrop on-the-go’, small handheld pods that makes recycling your chewing gum even easier. The Gumdrop on-the-go can be carried around and used for your personal chewing gum disposal. It follows the same recycling process, works towards the same goals, but it is simply smaller, personal and portable.
The start-up also teams up with manufacturers and companies world-wide to make products from recycled and processed chewing gum. With Gumdrop’s help, recycled and processed chewing gum can be repurposed into a vast number of things from wellington boots, to mobile phone covers, stationary, packaging and much more.