500 tons of chewing gum

500 tons of chewing gum

Postby Frank Taylor » Mon Oct 11, 2004 3:47 pm

Last year, minister Cullen estimated that 500 tons of chewing gum were disposed of on Irish streets.
http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/doeipub.nsf/0/900D9D6EF657368180256D9400389F0C?OpenDocument&Lang=en

Recently the DoE published a consultants' study on litter that recommended taxing chewing gum to pay for its environmental clean up costs.
http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPub.nsf/6fb57b90102ce64c80256d12003a7a0d/41f0a0b86eee08a580256f18002ee844?OpenDocument

Strangely, the report advocates taxing gum at a level unlikely to discourage purchase (10% or 5c per packet) and suggests that the €5m raised would go toward the costs of clean up. How could 500 tonnes of gum be removed for €5m? You could also ask how the tax take would be ringfenced for gum clean up.

What about making the tax about €2 per packet so that sales, particularly to children, drop to nothing? I know I sound like Scrooge advocating removing childrens' icecreams but the drawbacks of gum must exceed the benefits many times over.

The DoE web site advertises a public consultation on this report but the links are broken. Does anyone have a view on this sticky topic?

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Postby PVC King » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:32 pm

It manky stuff alright,

you can't beat the polo mint for keeping the gob fresh
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby phil » Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:47 am

Originally posted by Frank Taylor


What about making the tax about €2 per packet so that sales, particularly to children, drop to nothing? I know I sound like Scrooge advocating removing childrens' icecreams but the drawbacks of gum must exceed the benefits many times over.



The sugarless gums have actually been proved to be good for oral heigeine. The chewing gum issue on our streets is just a small example of our attitudes to rubbish in general. Just because of its nature we cannot miss it. Say, for example, if Mars Bar wrappers happened to stick to our pavements they would be covered in them. Putting a tax on chewing gum is not going to solve this problem. It is our overall attitude towards rubbish in general that is going to have to improve.
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Re: Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby Frank Taylor » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:25 pm

Originally posted by phil
The sugarless gums have actually been proved to be good for oral heigeine.
True, thats a benefit.
Originally posted by phil Putting a tax on chewing gum is not going to solve this problem.
It did seem to work for plastic bags.
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Postby phil » Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:51 pm

Firstly, I never heard of any benefit what so ever from plastic bags. Secondly, and interesting that you should mention it, I am beginning to have reservations about the plastic bag levy. I think it has been quite successful up until now, but the other day I was in a shop and handed a plastic bag without being charged for it. The other thing about the plastic bag levy is that we have no indication from many (not all) retailers as to where all the paper for the replacement paper bags is coming from.
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Postby themook » Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:30 pm

No benefit from plastic bags??

i know one.. they help you carry stuff
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Postby phil » Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:34 pm

themook, maybe I did not explain myself properly. What I meant was that there is no benefit in terms of the environment or health. You can obviously carry things with plastic bags, but the handy thing about them is that you can use them again and again.
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Postby themook » Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:44 pm

aye, just being pedantic..

anyway you shouldn't chew gum.. in the same way it stimulates saliva production, it also releases enzymes in the stomach, not healthy where theres no food in it!
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Postby Rory W » Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:03 pm

Still there is a hell of a lot less plastic bags floating around (literally)
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Postby notjim » Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:10 pm

i am amazed that the chewing gum industry hasn't come up with chewing gum that is stable for the time scales involved in chewing but degrades over longer time scales. perhaps they haven't really tried, well, here's a way to make them try: tax non-degradable gums.
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Postby notjim » Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:17 pm

i am amazed that the chewing gum industry hasn't come up with chewing gum that is stable for the time scales involved in chewing but degrades over longer time scales. perhaps they haven't really tried, well, here's a way to make them try: tax non-degradable gums.
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Postby Mob79 » Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:51 pm

Originally posted by phil
What I meant was that there is no benefit in terms of the environment or health.

Round sligo, my birthplace, there's a particularly strong culture of throwing your rubbish out the car window. The bushes are slowly starting to resemble bushes rather than christmas trees since the plastic bag ban came in. That's got to be good. Still plenty of coke and lucazade bottles in them bushes though.
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Postby Frank Taylor » Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:44 pm

So I think we can agree that chewing gum mess destroys the visual qualities of stone flags on footpaths and bridges. It can also damage clothes and shoes.

On the plus side:
It has dental health benefits when sugarfree.
It generates revenue for the chewing gum companies and retailers.
Some people enjoy chewing it.

We disagree about how to remedy.

Possibilities are :
1. small tax: to raise revenue for cleaning
2. large tax: to dicourage purchase, esp. by kids
3. national change of attitude to litter: people stop being filthy
4. invention of biodegradable chewing gum: means gum would disappear over time
5. absolute ban except for nicorette (as introduced in Singapore): means you have to smuggle it in to the country
6. Spend loads of cash on top quality gum cleaning machines and hire people to use them all over the country
7. ?? Any more suggestions ??

Incidentally, O'Connell Street and Henry Street's new flags are nowhere near as damaged by gum as I would have expected by this stage. Is DCC removing the gum every week or something?
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Postby burge_eye » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:17 am

I agree that the bag levy has been a resounding success and I'm sure something similar can be applied to gum. I think the main culprits, however, are the new boxes and packets of unwrapped gum. At least with the sticks the conscientious chewer always had a piece of paper or foil to wrap it up in before binning / putting in pocket or bag.

Perhaps we could have designated collection points and we could persuade Cristo to eschew (or perhaps that should be es-chew?) paper for a similar gum wrapping of a particularly offensive Dublin building. Gum as cladding? In the winter all the gum would freeze and fall off and be easily collected.

Any suggestions for a building? I'll open the bidding with any Jurys Inn of your choice
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Postby phil » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:59 am

That is a good idea Burge_Eye. I agree that it is the ones without a wrapper to use in disposal that are the main culprits. I wonder would it help if it was compulsory for companies to use individual wrappers again?
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:30 am

I certainly hope we don't go down the route some UK towns took recently of erecting boards on lamposts on which to stick your gum. I never heard of anything more disgusting, boards at eye-level laden with knobs of manky gum.

The plastic bag levy was succcessful because of alternatives to the plastic bags but people aren't necessarily going to give up gum if it's overpriced. I think a tax that is just sufficient to cover the cost of cleaning is appropriate, and that the money be ringfenced. As much as I'd like to see the stuff got rid of, I don't think it's fair the rest of us be penalised for the actions of such ignorant users.

It's interesting though - has anyone actually ever seen anyone throw or spit gum on the ground? It's extraordinary how much of the stuff there is down there and yet you never see people do it!
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Postby phil » Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:48 am

Those are two good points you make Graham. I particularly agree with the one about never seeing anyone throwing it away. I suppose it is because of its sticky nature that there is so much of around. I wonder if it would be possible to survey an area and watch how many pieces are actually spat out on to the ground during a 24 hour period?
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Postby anto » Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:24 pm

I croosed the hay' penny bridge in Dublin at the weekend, God, it's destroyed with chewing gum already. Never seen such a concentration of the stuff. I presume this wasn't there afte its reopening a few years ago
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby Lotts » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:04 pm

Image

Chewing gum target - as featured on yankodesign
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby Rory W » Tue Sep 06, 2005 6:12 pm

If they dont use bins for litter, what makes you think they'll use one of them?
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby corcaighboy » Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:06 pm

In Singapore they ban the stuff. Sounds a bit over the top, but it works. Pavements are free of the gunk and none of it under chairs or tables in restaurants either. The US gov kicked up a fuss about it last year, and as a result they relaxed the rules a bit. You can now buy it, but only for oral hygiene purposes and thus from a dentist! Sounds like a few years back in Ireland when you had to go to the good doc to get a condom!
Was in Cork a few weeks back, and the fancy new Beth Ghali designed pavement on Patrick's Street is already ruined with the stuff.
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby A-ha » Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:39 pm

Post withdrawn.
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby A-ha » Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:39 pm

Sorry corcaighboy I have to correct you, I was really surprised with how clean the streets were, not just Patrick's Street, but other areas of the city centre aswell. Only a few pieces of chewing gum on the street, but that is almost expected anywhere.
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby PVC King » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:35 pm

Carlow Nationalist wrote:Make chewing gum less clingy to solve the sticky issue of litter



LATERAL thinking has been applied by a Carlow senator, who has come up with a novel way of tackling the huge costs of cleaning up chewing gum.

Senator Fergal Browne has described Environment Minister Dick Roche’s attempts to get the chewing gum industry to fund an anti-litter campaign as “ineffective”.

Instead he advocates an alternative approach - to put pressure on the industry to make its product less sticky.

Referring to a study that was carried out by some Carlow students last year as part of the Young Scientist competition, Senator Browne highlighted that each year 65,000 pieces of chewing gum were discarded on our footpaths.

“The Irish Government should put pressure on chewing gum companies to make chewing gum less sticky, instead of talking about them funding publicity campaigns which have been proven in the past to be almost totally ineffective,” said Senator Browne.

“A campaign will do nothing to help reduce the huge costs associated with cleaning gum off our streets, costs that a study undertaken in Carlow last year illustrated.

“By reducing the costs of removing chewing gum off our streets local authorities would save millions of euros each year which could be put to good use by helping to clean up towns even further.” According to the Fine Gael senator, the study by the students at St Mary’s Academy also estimated that over half a kilo of gum is discarded on Tullow Street every week. In 2003 Carlow Town Council spent •250,000 on street cleaning.

“Technology now exists to make chewing gum less sticky, as advocated by Tom Kavanagh of the Irish Business Against Litter League, and this must be pushed instead of a futile publicity campaign,” he argued.

“If the Minister truly believes a publicity campaign will have the desired effect he should publish any data available to him that can prove this. He should also explain how he sees litter wardens imposing fines on people who spit out chewing gum will work.”

Majella O'Sullian

© Carlow Nationalist .


I am considering implementing a ban on chewing gum on the buildings I manage due to the effects of discarded gunk.
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Re: 500 tons of chewing gum

Postby crestfield » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:48 am

Frank Taylor wrote:Incidentally, O'Connell Street and Henry Street's new flags are nowhere near as damaged by gum as I would have expected by this stage. Is DCC removing the gum every week or something?


Thats correct, regular cleaning of O'Connell street takes place (the GPO square atleast once a week) and the traders of Henry Mary Street bought a gum removal machine.
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