All Chewed Up
27th March, 2009 by Lesley High
It seems there’s a way to recycle just about anything nowadays, even your old chewy!
British product designer Anna Bullus has developed a way of collecting and recycling used chewing gum, turning it into plastic products. Bullus developed what she calls Bullus Recycled Gum Polymer (BRGP).
“I was walking back from uni one day when I started to think about the unsightly splodges that litter our towns and cities globally. I researched a range of litter and quickly came to realise that apart from chewing gum they all had something in common – they could all be recycled,” Bullus says.
The idea basically involves placing little round bins around metropolitan areas to collect spent gum and raise awareness of gum littering. These bins are collected, taken to the recycling centre and the BRGP is turned into more bins.
“It’s notoriously difficult to clean up chewing gum because it doesn’t decompose,” Bullus says. “By 2010 the amount of gum globally will reach 1 million tonnes making it integral that we address the issue now.”
Bullus was given a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship and given funding to travel to Australia, America and Singapore to study the issue of gum littering.
“The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust have made it possible for me to come to Sydney and speak to a range of companies, councils and environmental groups... to gauge their reactions and to find out where gum litter is a problem and what is being done to combat it,” Bullus says.
Planet Ark co-founder John Dee says: “It enables a form of previously landfilled waste to be turned into a usable new product. Making chewing gum waste a key ingredient of this plastic also makes it smell nice as well.”
Keep an eye out on our streets for these gum-toting orbs of creative recycling.
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