Scientists urged to create non-sticky chewing gum

 

The race is on among boffins to create an non-sticky chewing gum to stop it littering streets and footpaths.

Environment Minister Dick Roche has offered €1 million to an Irish university or college to carry out research to 'ungum the gum.'

Chewing gum stuck to footpaths and streets is one of the biggest culprits in litter surveys along with cigarette butts, fast food wrapping and ATM receipts.

Mr Roche said today: "There will be a €1 million research fund for one of the Irish universities to carry out an investigation into how to change the structure of chewing gum to make it non-sticky while maintaining whatever qualities it has.

"The chewing gum industry has been looking to do this for 25 years so I'd like to see an Irish university cracking this and if they do, I think they would be onto a winner."

Last week Mr Roche launched a gum litter task force (GLT) to try to change people's attitudes towards the product.

The €2 million pilot campaign is funded by chewing gum manufacturers including Wrigley's and will run in Dublin, Cork and Bray in Mr Roche's constituency.

Based around the theme 'Thanks for binning your gum when you're done', the initiative will include outdoor and in-store advertising to raise awareness of €125 euro litter fines for irresponsible disposal of gum.

The Government may also consider introducing a 10 per cent tax on chewing gum in the future if other efforts are unsuccessful.