So, Is Chewing Gum Biodegradable?
I thought about writing this article the other day when some friends and I were talking about chewing gum, and whether or not it was ok, from an environmental standpoint, to throw gum on the ground. Perhaps the answer to this question is common knowledge, but none of us were sure, so I am guessing other people might be curious as well. Furthermore, there are some interesting developments underway in the realm of chewing gum production.
First and foremost, chewing gum is not biodegradable! Commercial chewing gums are made from a gum base, and have sugar and flavoring as additives. The gum base is what we chew, and can be separated into different, but relatively similar categories. Essentially, the base is either made up of plastic, rubber, or wax. Subsequently, chewing gum will not simply dissolve or disappear after a few weeks, or even years! Because of this, it is important not to throw your gum on the ground outside. Rather, wait until you see a trash can, or swallow it so it can pass through you, undigested, and be disposed of that way.
However, all hope is not lost for gum-loving environmentalists. A small cooperative in Mexico is taking gum production back to its roots, which uses the original process used to make gum known as chicle processing. The cooperative has developed a sustainable and organic gum called Chicza Rainforest Gum, and will soon be available in supermarkets in Britain. Not only that, its biodegradable!