Environment

Recycled Chewing Gum Turned Into Chewing Gum Bins

DiscoblogBy Joseph CalamiaAug 24, 2010 7:40 PM
GUMDROP_3.gif

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Tired of gum-plastered streets, Anna Bullus decided to design and install chewing gum receptacles made, naturally, from recycled chewing gum. Her pink "Gumdrops" now appear in five UK locations and Six Flags Theme Park in New Jersey. Though she won't reveal the gum rubber's exact contents, Bullus toldThe Guardian that eight months in a lab allowed her to perfect her technique, making gum first into a foam and then a used-gum pellet, before extracting a polymer modestly called BRGP (Bullus Recycled Gum Polymer). Perhaps it's not surprising that you could turn gum into plastic, since the "nonnutritive masticatory substance" that gives gum its chewiness can include butyl rubber, used in inner tubes. If her Gumdrops can keep gum off the streets, such bins might save British taxpayers an estimated £150 ($300) million per year--that's what the government spends now on steam hoses, freezing machines, and corrosive chemical street cleanings. Plus Bullus says the Gumdrops, once full, can provide fodder for more Gumdrops and other plastic products. She toldThe Guardian:

"The amazing thing is you can use it for any plastic product.... I'd love to do some Wellington boots, for example. Gum boots, in fact."

Related content: Discoblog: Britain’s War On Chewing Gum Terror Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: A moment on your lips, forever in your intestine. Discoblog: Can the Texas BoE walk and deny evolution at the same time? (when chewing gum meets evolution) DISCOVER: Oh, Rubbish (archaeologists dig up some old trash, including gum)

Image: GUMDROP

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