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So, Is Chewing Gum Biodegradable?

08.06.2010

Photo Credit: Jess

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!

Click here to read more…



Eric Waldstein

written by Eric Waldstein

Browse other posts by Eric Waldstein »

4 Responses to “So, Is Chewing Gum Biodegradable?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve always wondered about this… Thanks! Seems pretty bad to be chewing plastic…

  2. Roger W. says:

    You amaze me, and you continue to be my hero.

  3. Ann West says:

    Good Article Eric ! Bizzarre we have been chewing plastic for years. I cant imagine swallowing it.

  4. kayla holbrook says:

    Thank youu so much! I’m a huge earth warrior and I’m constantly picking up after others who are repeatedly litering. Sitting here at my little brothers baseball game I was so curious as to if I should put my gum down, or wait! Thank you (:

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
-Greek Proverb