Gum. It's sticky. It gives your jaws a workout. It tastes yummy...for a moment, anyway.
And then, it's gone. In the trash can. Or, sometimes (sadly) on the ground. The chewing gum that we choose to chew gums up our streets and makes a gluey mess. One that is more than just ugly—it's also expensive to clean.
That nasty substance is a polymer. A synthetic rubber that we also use to make items like rubber boots, shoe soles, and containers. Which leads us to a simple question: is there a way to turn that gluey mess into something more useful?
That's the aim of Anna Bullus. She is a British designer who is leading a push to change how we treat the gum we chew.
She has introduced bins called Gumdrops. This pink globes are actually made from recycled gum themselves. The Gumdrops are placed in public spaces, just like other garbage cans or recycling bins. Once enough gum has been collected, it's off to a recycling plant, which breaks down the old gum and mixes it with plastics. The result? A new material that can be turned into all sorts of useful items...as well as fresh Gumdrop bins!
Saving money, making cups
Anna's idea is being used in more and more places in the United Kingdom, including the campus of the University of Winchester. In a short period of time, the places that use the Gumdrop bins are saving money that would be spent on gum cleanup. Coffee cups designed by Anna made from old chewing gum are also a big hit on campus. If this idea really takes off, will we see it here in North America?
If we had a say, we know what outcome we would chews...
Watch more about Anna and her Gumdrops below.