Chewing gum machine

Funding boost to tackle sticky issue of chewing gum

Liverpool City Council is to target gum and reduce gum littering this summer, thanks to a grant from the UK’s Chewing Gum Task Force.

The Council is putting plans in place to remove chewing gum in a number of key hot spots after receiving £25,000 to tackle the issue.

In Liverpool, the money will be used to target places with high footfall, such as the city centre and around the city’s two football stadia.

The programme is due to start in August and will run for several months after which it will be evaluated. The programme will also include an education and engagement element, with signage and advertising across all sites where clean-up work is being carried out explaining what’s being done and why.

The pilot project is the latest initiative in the Keep Liverpool Tidy programme, which has focused on a series of campaigns over the past 12 months to improve waste management across the city.

In that time the Council has also introduced the UK’s largest subterranean superbin programme, designed to improve waste collection for 27,000 terraced houses which are unable to store wheelie bins.

The Task Force, established by Defra and administered by Keep Britain Tidy, is funded by major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle with £1.2m distributed to 56 local authorities.

Estimates suggest councils across the UK pay £7 million a year to remove chewing gum and according to Keep Britain Tidy, around 77% of England’s streets and 99% of retail sites are stained with gum.

Monitoring and evaluation carried out by the not-for-profit data analysis company Behaviour Change, which 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 Laura Robertson-Collins, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Spitting chewing gum onto the floor is a disgusting habit which has a horrible and costly impact on the state of our pavements.

“If people just put their used gum in a bit of paper and then bin it, like all litter should be, it would save councils huge amounts of money which could be spent on other services.

“I’m delighted we’ve received this funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force as it will allow us to focus on certain hot spots and then assess the impact on long-term behaviour.

“We have a great relationship with Keep Britain Tidy and have worked well together on a number of littering issues over the past 12 months, be it park litter, cigarette butts and fly tipping.

“There is always more to be done – particularly on education. If people didn’t drop litter, for which there really is no excuse, the more we can focus on other front line services which people want us to invest in.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, harms our wildlife and wastes taxpayers’ money when cleaning it up. That’s why we’re working with gum producers to tackle chewing gum stains.

“After the success of the first round of funding, this next slice will give councils further support to clean up our towns and cities. 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 2.5km sq 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, participating councils achieved reductions in gum littering of up to 80% in the first two months.”

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.”

Liverpool Waterfront