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Source: Gumdrop

'Gumdrop' Recycles Used Chewing Gum Into Useful New Products

By Brian Spaen

In the United Kingdom, chewing gum is only thwarted by cigarette butts in terms of the most common street litter. Over $200 million US is spent to clean up the discarded gunk, and to fix this issue, British designer Anna Bullus had an idea to turn the gum into something useful. Using the synthetic rubber in the base of chewing gum, waste is turned into products like shoe soles and coffee cups.

That specific material in the gum base is called polyisobutylene, which is a type of polymer. Also known as “butyl rubber,” a unique trait of the material is that it’s the only rubber that can hold air for a long time. This is why it’s commonly found in products like bicycle tires and basketballs. Even after chewed many times, this material in the gum is still useful.

Instead of scraping gum off sidewalks and roads, Bullus created an easy way to discard waste with “Gumdrop” bins. These pink containers are also made out of gum and they’re hung at head-height on trees and signposts. Each of them contain a message that explains that gum waste is reused to make new products.