£10million blitz to get rid of the bubble gum staining our streets: Producers back fight to curb the chewing public’s ‘drop it’ habit and clean up our walkways
- Mars Wrigley one of three companies working with Keep Britain Tidy task force
- Firms to invest £10m over next five years to encourage people to bin their gum
- Tests show gum litter can be reduced by 64% when people are asked to not litter
Chewing gum producers have signed up to a £10million taskforce to remove the sticky scourge from our high streets.
The cash pledge by Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Italian-Dutch multinational Perfetti Van Melle will help tackle the gum litter that costs £7million a year to remove from pavements.
Working with Keep Britain Tidy, the firms will invest the money over the next five years to encourage people to bin it instead.
Chewing gum wastes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year, with around 87 per cent of England’s streets stained with it, according to Keep Britain Tidy.
Pilot tests have shown that gum litter can be reduced by up to 64 per cent when people are asked to change their behaviour.
Littering is a criminal offence and offenders face on-the-spot penalties of £150, rising to up to £2,500 if convicted in court.
Pilot tests have shown that gum litter can be reduced by up to 64 per cent when people are asked to change their behaviour
The Keep Britain Tidy initiative, starting later this year, is part of the Government’s strategy to regenerate high streets.
The Daily Mail is a major supporter of the organisation’s annual Great British Spring Clean to rid the country of unsightly rubbish.
Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: ‘We must do everything in our power to tackle the issue of litter blighting our communities and our environment, and the Daily Mail have done fantastic work to highlight this with their campaign.
Gum litter makes our towns and cities looks grubby, damages our precious wildlife and costs the taxpayer millions of pounds every year.
‘It is sad the ever-present chewing gum stains are often mistaken for natural weathering and gum on your shoe is almost an occupational hazard of going shopping.
‘This has to stop. This new scheme will see chewing gum producers fund a clean-up of our nation’s high streets [and] take action to prevent people littering in the first place.’
Allison Ogden-Newton, of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘The Chewing Gum Task Force forms part of wider government action to tackle litter and protect our environment. It will also have the opportunity to share best practice and research in gum cleansing and litter prevention such as cleaning up, education, and biodegradability.’
Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Keep it, Bin it’ campaign, supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and funded by Mars Wrigley, will also encourage people to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.
Chewing gum wastes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year, with around 87 per cent of England’s streets stained with it, according to Keep Britain Tidy
It comes after ministers announced a consultation on banning throwaway plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups.
They have already banned plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds and microbeads, and introduced a bag tax following the Mail’s Turn the Tide on plastic campaign.
A 5p charge on single-use carrier bags was introduced in 2015, cutting their use in the main supermarkets by 95 per cent.
It has since increased to 10p and has been extended to all retailers, helping to further reduce the use.
The Environment Bill, which ministers want to become law before the COP26 climate summit in November, will introduce the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. This will mean companies will be expected to cover the full cost of recycling and disposing of their packaging.
A Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers is also being considered, though it will not become law before 2024.