The Issue > Overview

Did you know that for every ten pieces of gum chewed an average of seven pieces will be disposed of onto the floor (DEFRA: gumdroppers3.pdf), but where will it all go... onto our streets... into our playgrounds... outside our shops... and even our homes!

An independent BBC survey in 2004 found 66% of UK pavements suffered from some form of chewing gum litter whilst ENCAMS research (2002) showed a substantial eight out of ten local community retail areas suffer from significant levels of chewing gum litter and staining. Chewing gum litter is difficult and costly to remove. It is highly resistant to aggressive chemicals and all weather conditions and does not break down over time, therefore deposits easily accumulate. Whilst cleansing is an inconvenient and costly short term solution, chewing gum litter prevention is really the only way forward.

Unlike every other form of litter, chewing gum is not removed through normal cleansing regimes and requires specialist removal services that are both expensive and ineffective in the long-term. Chewing gum litter is on the rise in correlation with increasing sales and smoking bans and it is not alone the cost and difficulty of removing it that presents a foreseeable problem.

Broken window syndrome (William Eggers & John O'Leary; Policy Review, Fall, 1995) holds the essence to why Meteora Limited believes chewing gum litter is a pressing issue. In an article titled "Broken Windows," James Q. Wilson and George Kelling argued that disorder in a community, in any form, be it broken windows, dog fouling or chewing gum litter if left uncorrected, undercuts residents' own efforts to maintain their neighbourhoods and control unruly behaviour.

"If a window in a building is broken and left un-repaired, other windows will soon be broken... One un-repaired window is a signal that no one cares, so breaking more windows costs nothing."

If incorrect behaviour goes unchecked a vicious cycle will begin. Residents' involvement in the community will decline, social regulation will cease and the community and its establishments will be degraded.

Chewing gum litter is on the rise and shows no signs of decline. Whilst it is known that chewing gum litter can degrade an area and devour a cleansing budget, the consumer is poorly informed of the long-term damaging affects of their actions and yet the ENCAMS survey showed that 'clean streets are consistently cited by the public as one of the most significant issues affecting local community environment quality.'

However, new legislation has introduced fines for the incorrect disposal of chewing gum; it is therefore fitting that now should be the time to concentrate on prevention.

Meteora Limited believes that chewing gum is a unique form of litter and therefore requires a unique set of solutions. For this reason we have created a unique piece of hardware that is sustainable and affordable, but most of all... effective. We believe in educating the consumer and raising awareness through continuous hardware messaging, therefore effecting a long-term change in consumer behaviour.

Click image below to download the DEFRA: gumdroppers PDF

Defra Gumdroppers

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