Friday, February 20, 2015

A Sticky Problem -- Is chewing gum harmful to the environment?

I have a confession to make: it doesn't seem that many years ago that I thought nothing of tossing a piece of chewed gum out of the window of my car, careful only to throw it somewhere where someone might not step on it. The environmental impact didn't even enter my mind.

The following is an article and infographic from CustomMade. I thought it was worth sharing.

Whether it's being used as a mid-day breath refresher or on the playground to see who can blow the biggest bubble -- chewing gum is a daily habit for many people. But what happens when you're done chewing it? Eighty to ninety percent of chewing gum is not disposed of properly and it's the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts.

Chewing gum is made from polymers, which are synthetic plastics that do not biodegrade. When it's tossed on the sidewalk, there it sits until it's removed, which can be a costly, time-consuming process. Littered gum can also make its way into the food chain. It has been found in fish, where it can accumulate toxins over time. 

Sustainable chewing gums have been produced. These gums are natural, biodegradable substances. Cities are also implementing gum receptacles to cut down on waste. In a six month period, these trash cans cut down on littered gum by 72%.

Next time you get ready to toss your gum, consider aiming for a trash can instead of the sidewalk.

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