Many years ago, my husband and I took our two young children to visit their cousins. We stayed with them for almost a week and when we left, they had learned several things…beds are more fun to jump on than to sleep in, there are words in the English language that will cause mommy and daddy near heart failure, and chewing gum is the most incredible substance ever made by man. At the ages of 4 and 6, my children had NEVER chewed gum. I have issues with my jaw that make it impossible for me to chew gum without regretting it so gum was never introduced. UNTIL they visited their cousins…who have free access to gum on a daily basis. At the age of 4 my daughter began a daily request for gum…”Please, mommy, can I have some gum?” as we stood in line at the checkout. I would buy her a pack occasionally, cringing inside at the artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners it contained. But, as a treat I would occasionally relent. If you find yourself or your children reaching for the chewing gum frequently, you may want to keep reading!
Think About This Thursday
Think About This: Chewing gum is not biodegradable. Once chewing gum exists….it exists forever! And since 560,000 tons of chewing gum are sold throughout the world every year, you are talking an awful lot of gum stuck on sidewalks and underneath classroom desks! There are actually towns throughout the world that have banned chewing gum in an effort to keep their streets clean. Since cleaning gum from public areas is currently a million dollar business, banning chewing gum is probably not a bad idea!
What exactly is chewing gum made of? Basically, depending on the brand, it is either a synthetic rubber, wax, or plastic that has added sweeteners, flavors and colors. Just like a rubber band doesn’t dissolve when you chew on it, neither does gum. I tried finding information on how long it would actually take for gum to biodegrade and the only reference that I found said ‘a really long time’. Think swallowing it is a solution? Nope…passes right through the digestive tract intact. Not even stomach acid can dissolve that stuff.
Chewing Gum will last forever
Want some random chewing gum facts?
1. Birds (especially young birds) have died by eating chewing gum
2. Next to cigarette butts chewing gum is the second largest littering item in the world
3. The average person chews over 300 pieces of chewing gum a year
4. Bubble Yum is the official chewing gum of Major League Baseball
5. The first successful bubble gum (as opposed to chewing gum) was invented in 1928
6. Chewing gum began as early as 7,000 years ago. Researchers have found lumps of tar with human teeth marks in them.
So, gum has been around a long time and will continue to be around an even LONGER time because none of it is actually biodegrading. Instead, it is killing birds, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to sidewalks, and ending up in a lot of kids’ hair. What can we do about the environmental gum crisis? How about buying a chewing gun that is certified organic and saving the rainforest?
Chicza Rainforest Gum is owned by a small co-operative in the Mexican rainforest. Chewing gum used to be made of a natural plant product called chicle. It is a white sap that comes from the sapodilla tree (native to Central America). Once synthetic options became available, the chicle industry almost died out completely. The Chicza Rainforest Gum comes from this natural chicle, that is removed without actually killing the trees themselves. Another big perk of the Chicza Rainforest gum is that it is biodegradable! It is available for purchase in several different countries, unfortunately the United States isn’t one of them. For those of us here in the states, we will have to stick to breath mints to reduce our carbon footprint. Or maybe switch to a natural breath freshener, instead.
Are you a gum chewer? Have you ever seen a biodegradable chewing gum?