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Chewing Gum Task Force to clean our shopping streets

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The main chewing gum producers, brought together by the government, have signed a new £ 10million partnership to remove gum waste from our main streets, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced today.

The program, comprising Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle and run by independent charity Keep Britain Tidy, will see gum companies investing up to £ 10million over the next five years to help reduce waste of gum.

Chewing gum waste is a plague on our towns and cities and wastes millions of pounds of taxpayer money every year; the annual clean-up cost is estimated at £ 7million. About 87% of the streets in England are stained with gum, according to a study by Keep Britain Tidy.

The investment, which will begin later this year, will be used to clean up historic gum litter stains and use behavioral interventions to encourage people to throw away their gum. Previous pilots reduced rubber waste by up to 64%.

Littering is a criminal offense and the government has already empowered local authorities by increasing the immediate penalties for violators to £ 150, up to £ 2,500 if convicted in court. The government is looking for powers in the Environmental Bill to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by board staff or private contractors, and to place our guidelines in application improved on a solid legal basis.

The task force is part of the government’s new strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of main streets across the country, which includes 15 Town Deals totaling £ 335million to fund community regeneration projects, transformation of abandoned buildings and communities with the opportunity to own local pubs, theaters, sports fields and corner shops.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

Discarded chewing gum stains are a plague on our communities, spoil our streets and waste millions of pounds of taxpayer money.

This new program means chewing gum makers are not only helping clean up cities by welcoming people to our main streets, but taking critical steps to prevent people from throwing trash in the first place.

We are committed to building better and greener, and this commitment to making downtown areas more attractive and welcoming is a key part of our long-term strategy to breathe new life into our communities.

Jonny Briscoe, Managing Director of Perfetti Van Melle – PVM UK, said:

As a serious corporate responsibility organization, Perfetti Van Melle is committed to helping clean the streets of Britain and educating consumers on the importance of responsible gum disposal.

Allison Ogden-Newton, executive director of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said:

Keep Britain Tidy is excited to work with Defra and the chewing gum industry to clean chewing gum from our streets and prevent it from being abandoned in the first place.

The Chewing Gum Task Force is part of a larger government action to fight waste and protect our environment. The Group will also have the opportunity to share best practices and research in gum cleaning and waste prevention such as cleaning, education and biodegradability.

The ‘Keep it, Bin it’ campaign, supported by Defra and funded by Mars Wrigley, encourages people to dispose of their waste responsibly, calling for time to make excuses for the waste and telling people to people keep their trash until they find a trash can.

The government’s landmark environmental bill includes the power to introduce a security deposit system for beverage containers, which will recycle billions of additional plastic bottles and prevent them from being landfilled. Our Extended Producer Responsibility program means that companies will have to cover the full costs of recycling and disposing of their packaging, and through the fees they pay, they will be incentivized to use packaging that can be recycled and achieve higher recycling targets. We also underscored our intention to explore regulatory options to tackle the problem of discarded cigarette butts, which account for 66% of all littered items.

Consistent recycling collections will be introduced for every household and business in England, ensuring that more plastic is recycled, while ministers will have new powers to facilitate the taxation of single-use plastic items that threaten our ecosystems. The government will also introduce a global plastic packaging tax from April 2022, on plastic packaging that does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content, to encourage greater use. of recycled plastic and protect our environment.

More information

Chewing gum cleaning cost statistics from Financial Cost of Packaging Litter – Phase 2 – Final Report, WRAP

Street chewing gum impact statistics from Keep Britain Tidy research