British Designer Gives Second Life to Chewing Gum
Anyone who has ever stepped on gum or felt a sticky glob on the underside of tables knows chewed gum can be a pest.
But did you know that chewing gum is also a problem for the environment? Although it was once made of natural substances, modern gum is made from synthetic, petroleum-based polymers called polyisobutylene, which is the same rubbery material you'd find inside car tires. This means most gum sold today is non-biodegradable.
Sure, there are bigger planetary foes than chewing gum, but one 1999 review found that the world market for chewing gum is estimated to be 560,000 tons per year, so it adds up. If gum is not disposed properly, it either accumulates in the environment, inadvertently ends up in the stomachs of animals, or local governments have to spend a lot of money scraping it off sidewalks and other surfaces. Chewing gum happens to be the second most common form of street litter after cigarette butts.
You can always switch to biodegradable varieties, mints, or practice better dental hygiene if you want fresh breath. But as the BBC recently highlighted, one designer has another brilliant solution to the pervasive problem.
For the past decade, Anna Bullus has headed UK-based Gumdrop, the first company in the world to recycle chewing gum by turning it into a moldable material that can be used in a variety of rubber and plastic products, including cups, guitar picks, and even 100 percent recyclable rain boots.
"When you are handling the finished product, you do take a while to adjust to the fact that this has been in somebody's mouth previously," Brett Nixon, the manager at a plastic molding specialist in Leicester that works with Gumdrop, told the BBC.
"But once you get over that fear it's easy. By recycling it and giving it another lease of life it's helping the environment, it's an absolutely fantastic idea."
Two #gumdrop bins have gone up on #Kensington high street #today so that you can carry on #recycling your #gum https://t.co/OmfQz1UHjD— GUMDROP LTD (@GUMDROP LTD)1450436005.0
Gumdrop Bins have been installed in several universities, train stations, shopping centers and airports around the UK. According to the BBC, after a three-month trial of Gumdrop's disposal program, London's Heathrow Airport saw a "noticeable improvement" and saved £6,000 ($8,300) in cleaning costs.
As Bullus said, "I do believe that through the right design you can actually change the way people behave."
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
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