TRASH TALK: Chewing Gum is litter too

10 June 2021
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley officially launched the Gum Litter Taskforce’s education campaign, with the help of students from Bunscoil Mhuire, in Youghal earlier this week.

Bin your gum when you’re done – a campaign to combat gum litter in Cork County was launched on Tuesday in Youghal by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley and students from 6th class Bunscoil Mhuire,  Kate Innes, Katie Ates and Jamie gardiner. Picture: Clare Keogh

Speaking of the campaign, Mayor Linehan Foley said “Covid-19 has brought more people outdoors to socialise and enjoy the beauty of their local area. People of all generations are more aware than ever of the importance of looking after the natural environment and “binning their gum when they’re done”. I’m confident the people of Cork will do their county and local community proud by getting behind this Gum Litter Taskforce campaign.”

The Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) is a national initiative to raise awareness and reduce gum litter in a sustainable way. Supported by the chewing gum industry, the GLT has over the past 14 years made real and significant improvements in terms of gum litter awareness and disposal behaviours. The 2019 campaign maintained an all-time high with 93% of people stating they regard chewing gum as litter, up from 74% when the campaign first began in 2007.

Deputy Principal of Bunscoil Mhuire, Marian Leamy commented “Gum litter can be a big problem in places. We take part in Green Schools, so encouraging our students to be responsible with their waste is a given within the school. Going forward we will make a more conscious effort to highlight to students that gum must also be put in a bin and that they should help to spread that message”.

This year’s campaign aims to build on the positive momentum and is making a strong return for 2021 after being postponed last year due to Covid-19. Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce and conducted by Kantar Millward Brown during 2019 highlighted the campaign’s continued positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. In 2019, 88% of people said they always dispose of their gum correctly, up from 54% when the campaign first began. This behavioural shift is also evidenced with the proportion of gum, as a percentage of litter, decreasing by 64% over the life of the campaign.

Paul Kelly, Chairman of the GLT added; “It is great to see the GLT campaign return and continue its success in changing the public’s behaviour towards gum litter. Since 2007, we have seen a significant decline in the amount of gum litter present throughout the streets, villages and towns of Ireland. Alongside the Green Schools, Tidy Towns and Neat Streets programmes, this campaign aims to play a significant role in the overall reduction of litter and contribute to the betterment of the environment. The relaunch of the GLT campaign in its revised format this year, along with our advertising campaign and the Bin It! school education programme, can only be successful through continued support from our schools and local communities.”

Nicola Forde, Corporate Affairs Manager, Mars Wrigley Ireland said; “Mars Wrigley are pleased to support the return of this positive and vibrant awareness campaign in 2021. It is important that we maintain momentum on our journey to achieving a cleaner, greener Ireland through initiatives like the GLT and build on the success that the campaign has achieved since it commenced in 2007.”

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