Press Coverage

New campaign targets chewing gum waste

The council is launching a campaign aimed at encouraging people to be more responsible with the way they dispose of their chewing gum, using boards called GumTargets in Acton.

The GumTargets are approximately A4 in size and have removable sheets, which will be changed six days a week by Meteora Limited, the company behind this innovative approach.

Roni White, Ealing Council's anti-graffiti manager, launched the initiative with Big Brother housemate and chef Gos on 17 May.

Roni White said "Gum is a particularly difficult form of litter to get rid of as its expensive to remove and soon builds up again.

"Spitting gum is anti-social and everybody hates it ruining their clothes or getting it stuck on their shoes. We want this campaign to start changing people's behaviour and encourage them to think about better ways of disposing of chewing gum."

The council and Meteora Limited are hoping the campaign will be as successful as those in other areas, including Luton and Bournemouth where the GumTarget(TM)Initiative has already been well accepted by the public and demonstrated tangible results.

The GumTargets will be displayed along Acton high street for one year and if successful, the council hopes to extend the programme to other town centres.

A clean-up using specialist methods was carried out in Hanwell last year which cost £9,000. It's estimated local councils throughout the UK spend £150m a year to tackle the problem. Often six months after a specialist removal method the problem has returned to its former state. Cleaning up gum by high-pressure jet washes can also damage paving stones and weaken the grout.

Facts about chewing gum

  • Three and a half billion pieces of gum are disposed of every year in the UK, mostly in a thoughtless way.
  • Three-quarters of the population are believed to be regular gum-chewers.
  • The number of packs of gum bought every year in the UK is 980 million.
  • Most gum-users are aged between 16 and 44, evenly divided between men and women.
  • The annual UK confectionery market is worth approximately £5.5 billion. Chewing gum is the fastest growing part of the confectionery business in the last 5 years.
  • At any one time Oxford Street is littered with up to 300,000 pieces of gum.
  • Turkey is the largest producer of chewing gum with more than 60 firms.

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