Task force launches to reduce gum litter on high streets

Gum firms are to invest up to £10m over the next five years to clean up our high streets, after the government brought together major chewing gum producers in a new partnership.

The scheme will be managed by independent charity Keep Britain Tidy, and will involve major companies including Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle.

The annual clean up cost of chewing gum waste is estimated at £7m, wasting taxpayer money in our towns and cities annually, with around 87% of England’s streets stained with gum according to Keep Britain Tidy.

The investment will be used to clean up historic gum waste and use behavioural interventions to encourage people to throw their gum in the bin.

The taskforce is part of the government’s wider strategy to support the regeneration of high streets, which includes 15 Town Deals to fund community regeneration projects, transform buildings and boost community ownership.

man wearing leather shoes walking on paved pathway

Environment minister, Rebecca Pow, said: ‘The stains of discarded chewing gum are a blight on our communities, spoiling our streets and wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. This new scheme means chewing gum producers are not only helping to clean up towns and cities as they welcome people back to our high streets, but crucially taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.

‘We are committed to building back better and greener and this commitment to making town centres a more attractive and inviting place is a key part of our long-term strategy to breathe new life into our communities.’

Alison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, added: ‘Keep Britain Tidy are delighted to be working with Defra and the chewing gum industry to clean up gum from our streets and critically stop it being dropped in the first place.’

In related news, construction is set to begin later this year on a £2m project to regenerate Shoreditch Park, after the Council approved plans for the area.

Photo by Miguel A. Amutio


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