Douglas is the first local authority in the Island to install specialist chewing gum recycling bins in a bid to stop people dropping their gum on the streets.
The Council is to trial 32 GUMDROP bins, installing them outside schools and in town centre locations where street surfaces are most affected by chewing gum stains.
When full the bubblegum-pink receptacles are sent away to be recycled then converted into more bins.
GUMDROP estimates that around 935 million packs of chewing gum are consumed in the UK every year, but only 10 to 20 per cent is disposed of in a litter receptacle.
Ahead of the trial the Council’s waste services section removed an estimated 6000 gum deposits from Well Road Lane using its steam-based GumGo machine, then deep-cleaned the area with a high-pressure jet wash. The operation took two days at a cost to the Douglas ratepayer.
Chair of the environmental services advisory committee Councillor Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘Chewing gum waste is litter that blights our streets. It’s unsightly and time-consuming and costly to remove…and that cost has to be borne by the ratepayers of Douglas. Dropping litter is an offence and Council’s borough wardens do all they can to enforce the byelaws, but if we are to tackle the problem of gum and also smoking litter then the only long-term solution is to encourage behaviour change, so people think before they discard their gum on the street. It was to provide consumers with a responsible option for getting rid of their gum that we have invested in these GUMDROP bins. And while there is a charge for sending them away to the manufacturer to be replaced, this will be largely offset by a saving in street cleansing costs.’
Council leader Councillor David Christian said: ‘Chewing gum-stained streets project a damaging image of the capital. At a time when economic confidence remains fragile the Council is determined to take every step to send out a positive “open for business” message. Only through a commitment to enforcement, encouraging habit change and embracing innovation can we deter the antisocial practice of littering and move towards creating a cleaner environment.’