The Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG) has launched its annual, national campaign, designed to challenge the general public’s behaviour when it comes to responsible gum disposal. And as part of the campaign, it has created the UK’s first “Litter Lounge”, a “living bin” built in the middle of a busy East London street.
Born from the idea that consumers would find it unacceptable to drop gum on their floor at home or dispose of it down the back of their own sofa, the Litter Lounge aims to make people see the outside environment as an extension of their home. The pop ups – appearing in participating locations across the UK – will ask passing consumers to drop their gum litter in its chic surroundings, challenging social norms. Consumer interaction with the Litter Lounge will be recorded and made into a short film to further drive awareness of the importance of binning used gum responsibly.
The CGAG says that 25 percent of places in the UK today still have unacceptable levels of litter and that chewing gum and chewing gum staining remain a part of the ongoing litter problem. Over the past month Hackney Council monitored gum litter in some of the busiest streets of the borough, and the results suggest that if every street was as busy up to 1.6 million pieces of chewing gum are potentially dropped in the borough each month.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive at Keep Britain Tidy, a partner in CGAG, said: “Littering is often seen as someone else’s fault and everyone else’s problem. For more than 10 years we’ve been committed to raising awareness of littered gum and using creative ways to get people to stop and think as part of the Chewing Gum Action Group. This latest idea is all about making people see their local streets as an extension of their own home, they don’t drop gum in their home, so why should they on the street?”
The annual campaign sees representatives from the chewing gum industry, Government, environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management working with councils and partners across the UK to reduce littered gum. The 2015 campaign saw chewing gum litter reduce by an average of 48% in participating areas, demonstrating the momentous impact CGAG’s campaign work has on littering behaviour.
Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra says: “It’s simple; dropping gum on the street is selfish and antisocial. The horrible stains left on pavements spoil streets up and down the country for everyone, and having to peel it off the sole of your shoe is disgusting. I hope this campaign makes the thoughtless minority who cause this problem think again and bin their gum.”
Hackney is one of eleven local authorities and partners from across the UK taking part in this year’s campaign, displaying campaign materials on poster sites, monitoring gum litter and installing local Litter Lounges. Locations include Colchester, Corby, Harrow, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Maidstone, North Ayreshire, Oldham and Chester. For more information, please visit www.chewinggumactiongroup.org.uk, or join the conversation using the hashtags #LitterLounge and #BinItYourWay.