Councils across the UK are tackling chewing gum stains on their high streets and public places, thanks to funding from The Chewing Gum Task Force which is supported by DAERA.  This is a voluntary producer responsibility scheme, where the producers of chewing gum pay towards the clean-up and impact of the products they sell.

Chewing Gum Task Force The Chewing Gum Task Force brings together some of the UK’s major chewing gum producers (Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle) with UK governments in a partnership to remove gum litter from UK high streets and prevent future littering. The scheme, administered by independent charity Keep Britain Tidy, sees the chewing gum firms invest up to £10 million over five years to achieve two objectives; cleaning up historic gum staining and changing behaviour so that more people bin their gum.

Grants of up to £25,000 are available annually to councils in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to fund street cleansing and/or the purchase of cleaning equipment.

In 2022, the chewing gum task force awarded funding to the following N.I. councils:

  • Ards & North Down Borough Council
  • Belfast City Council
  • Fermanagh & Omagh District Council
  • Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council
  • Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
  • Mid Ulster District Council
  • Newry Mourne & Down District Council

Three posters; blue background with text Time to bin your Gum?, kitten with chewing gum with text Please bin your gum, blue background with text in Antrim & Newtownabbey we bin our gum.

The N.I. councils awarded funding, totalling £127,907, by the chewing gum task force in 2023, were:

  • Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
  • Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
  • Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
  • Mid Ulster District Council

This funding can be used by these councils to facilitate the removal of gum from their streets by employing staff specifically to do so or purchasing equipment to make their current methods of gum removal more efficient.

By combining targeted street cleaning with specially designed signage to encourage people to bin their gum, participating councils in year one of the scheme achieved reductions in gum littering of up to 80% in the first two months. A reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention ma Bin Your Gum stencilled onto pavement. terials.

Councils not in receipt of funding can also benefit from a bespoke gum litter prevention package, including targeted behaviour change signage and advice to encourage people to bin their gum, which is offered free of charge.

Applications for 2024 will be open from 5th February 2024 – 28th March 2024. 

To find out more click here: Chewing Gum Task Force | Keep Britain Tidy

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