Council to benefit from funding to clean chewing gum from borough streets

Blaenau Gwent Council is among the first councils to be awarded funding from The Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme; a brand-new fund to help clean chewing gum from the UK’s towns and cities.

The Chewing Gum Task Force was established by Defra and is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The funding announced this week is the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.

The funding awarded to Blaenau Gwent Council will enable them to carry out deep cleaning to remove chewing gum stains from town centre streets, and install new signage to encourage people to bin their gum in future. Previous pilots run by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit Behaviour Change using this signage have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.

Councillor Helen Cunningham Executive Member for the Environment at Blaenau Gwent Council, said:

“We’re delighted to have received this funding from The Chewing Gum task force, which will help us tackle the ongoing problem of chewing gum staining and help reinvigorate our town centres and public spaces.

“Cleansing will begin around the first week of October and will take around two weeks to complete. We hope that everyone will enjoy our newly cleaned streets and smart new signage.”

The damage and staining from chewing gum costs councils in the UK millions each year. The Chewing Gum Task Force grant fund represents a commitment from the Government and major gum manufacturers to work together to find long-term solutions to this issue.

Set up in 2021 by Defra, the Gum Task Force brings together the UK’s major chewing gum producers (including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle) and representatives from the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, in a new partnership to remove gum litter from UK high streets and prevent future littering. The scheme, administered by independent charity Keep Britain Tidy and supported by SOENECS on grant management and Behaviour Change in gum behaviour change, 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.

Keep Britain Tidy:
Keep Britain Tidy is an independent charity with three goals – to eliminate litter, end waste and improve places. This means more than just picking up litter. It means creating clean beaches, parks and streets. It means creating sustainable practices and eliminating unnecessary waste. It’s about working with people, businesses, organisations and public bodies to care for the environment on our doorstep. We fight for people’s right to live and work in places they can be proud of and prosper in.

Behaviour Change:
Behaviour Change is a not-for-profit social enterprise, founded in 2009. They create social and environmental change, with big ideas grounded in behavioural science. Through a 5-year innovation programme and collaboration with chewing gum manufacturer Mars Wrigley, they created and tested a range of ways to encourage responsible behaviour, which resulted in local reductions of gum littering by up to 64%.  These interventions have now been made available for deployment by councils as part of the Gum Task Force Grant Scheme. Intervention toolkit:

SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL & ECONOMIC SOLUTIONS (SOENECS) Ltd is an independent research and innovation practice that provides strategic advice and support to the public and private sectors in the fields of circular economy, waste management, resource management, climate change, renewable deployment, carbon management and partnership delivery. SOENECS is a partner in the four-year Interreg NWE TRANSFORM-CE programme to turn plastic waste into more valuable 3D printing feedstock. We are currently working with The Gum Task Force and Keep Britain Tidy to oversee the administration of the Gum Task Force Grant Scheme.