Council awarded more funding to tackle sticky issue of chewing gum litter

PUBLISHED: 6 July 2023

Colchester city centre is poised to say goodbye to even more chewing gum mess, thanks to funding for a new cleaning machine.

Colchester City Council is putting plans in place to remove the discarded gum that blights local streets, after receiving a £21,856 grant from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, to clean up gum and reduce gum littering.

The council is one of 56 across the country to have successfully applied to the Chewing Gum Task Force for funds to clean and prevent gum littering. The money will be used to purchase an electric street vacuum that can remove chewing gum from pavements without damaging them.

This is the second time the council has received funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force, having been awarded £20,000 last November for a new cleaning vehicle to target hot spots outside the Sixth Form College and areas around the high street, as well as new signage to warn people not to drop gum.

Established by Defra and run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the Chewing Gum Task Force Grant Scheme is open to councils across the UK who wish to clean up gum in their local areas and invest in long-term behaviour change to prevent gum from being dropped in the first place.

The Task Force is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, with the investment spread over five years.

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Behaviour Change has shown that in areas that benefitted last year, a reduced rate of gum littering is still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.

Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods & Waste, said: “Our neighbourhood teams work incredibly hard and devote considerable resources to tackling the blight of decarded gum.
“We are delighted to have once again been successful in our bid to Keep Britain Tidy and will use the award to purchase and maintain another dedicated vehicle to clean streets and pavements in and around the city centre.

“Gum litter is a disgrace and there really is no need for anyone to be littering now that we also have special Gumdrop bins around the town centre.

“I would again like to thank Keep Britain Tidy for its support and partnership approach to reducing the impact of carelessly discarded gum. We can, and should, all work together to take pride in our city and continue to challenge and educate anyone who drops gum – or any other kind of litter for that matter.”

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, said: “Chewing gum litter is highly visible on our high streets and is both difficult and expensive to clean up, so the support for councils provided by the Chewing Gum Task Force and the gum manufacturers is very welcome.

“However, once the gum has been cleaned up, it is vital to remind the public that when it comes to litter, whether it’s gum or anything else, there is only one place it should be – in the bin – and that is why the behaviour change element of the task force’s work is so important.”

Page last reviewed: 6 July 2023


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