GUMDROP Ltd is the first chewing gum recycling company in the world. Founded by Anna Bullus in 2009, it’s not only focused on the collection and recycling of chewing gum, but also about campaigning and educating the public about the benefits of disposing gum appropriately so that it doesn’t harm the environment.
While studying three dimensional design at Brighton University in the United Kingdom, Bullis, who specialised in plastics, embarked on a journey to clear Britains’s streets of gum litter, which, continues to be a source of aggrevation and cost to cleaning and waste managment companies around the world. There are more than 1,000 varieties of gum manufactured and sold in the United States and 80 to 90 percent of chewing gum is not disposed of in any litter receptacle.
However, Bullus realised that rather that just creating a solution for gum to be disposed of in a hygienic and environmental way, she could also recycle the gum into plastic pellets, known as GUMTEC®, to use in injection and blow moulding.
GUMTEC® has the ability to be moulded like any other plastic, therefore reducing the need for plastic derived from natural resources. With six million tonnes of gum thrown away each year in the UK alone, the process not only intercepts this litter from being thrown away, but creates value from otherwise redundant waste.
However, the recycling process is just the start. Education, campaigning and awareness are key to this project being a success, as Bullus states, “it’s all very well having created the technology to recycle chewing gum but education and technology must work hand in hand in order for change to be realised.”
From GUMTEC®, Bullus has developed GUMDROP, the world’s first chewing gum bin made using recycled gum. A full GUMDROP can be recycled into three new GUMDROPs, or any plastic product such as a car bumper or a piece of jewellery.
Formal trials for GUMDROP were launched in 2010 and the data collected showed a demand for the GUMDROP bins. The new design was launched at Legoland in Berkshire in 2011, as well as winning various other big name company contracts. Reiterating the slogan of the campaign, Bullis’ mission is to offer an alterntaive to gum disposal and educate and inspire the public to give gum a second life.