Un-sticking the Chewing gum on the streets of NI

Date published: 03 August 2023

The Chewing Gum Task Force launched in 2021 and for this year, 2023, Mid and East Antrim Borough, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough, Fermanagh and Omagh District, Derry City and Strabane District, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough and Mid Ulster District council, have been awarded grants totalling £127,907, to remove discarded chewing gum from our streets and prevent it from being littered again.

The Chewing Gum Task Force brings together some of the country’s major chewing gum producers, including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, who have pledged up to £10 million over five years via the scheme to tackle gum littering across the UK, working with government including DAERA. This is a voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme. The latest round of funding includes grants of up to £25,000 for cleansing with a fully funded bespoke gum litter prevention package. An additional grant of up to £25,000 has been awarded to Antrim and Newtownabbey for the fully funded gum litter prevention package with long-term monitoring and evaluation carried out by not-for-profit social enterprise Behaviour Change. The funding can provide employment opportunities and equipment for gum removal and its operators. All councils will be given three months to complete the cleansing and will be required to install prevention signage following cleansing.

A study carried out before the implementation of the Chewing Gum Task Force found that signage was more than twice as effective as cleansing alone. Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change has shown that a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

In its first year the task force awarded 44 grants worth a total of £1.2 million, benefitting 53 councils who were able to clean an estimated 2.5km2 of pavement, an area larger than 467 football pitches. By combining targeted street cleaning with specially designed signage to encourage people to bin their gum, councils achieved reductions in gum littering of up to 80% in the first two months.

Look out for a signs coming soon to a town near you!!

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