Effective gum littering prevention

Free, ready-to-use signage
Proven to reducing littering by as much as 64%
For local authorities & partnerships

Spotless streets make for happier, healthier communities. While most chewers do the right thing and bin their gum, it is vital that we keep encouraging people to love where they live and be responsible with litter.

Through extensive research and testing, we have developed a package of behaviour change advice and effective interventions - available to councils printed and delivered at no cost - which are proven to reduce gum littering. Funded by the chewing gum industry via the Chewing Gum Taskforce, this is part of the Government’s new strategy to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets across the country.

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Tackle gum littering - what's available:

1

Grant funding for clean up

The opportunity to bid for a grant for clean up of existing gum litter

2

Post clean-up prevention

Integrated package of littering prevention signage (opportunity for some councils to have activity evaluated over the long term)

3

Signage available to all

Prevention package available to all councils (incl. those not successful in a grant application)

What the prevention package includes


- A set of highly targeted signage, proven to significantly reduce gum littering
- Bespoke to your local needs and amounts required
- Editable (e.g. with council logo)
- High quality, weatherproof materials
- Printed and delivered at no cost (ahead of any planned clean up)
- Guidance pack (incl. advice on installation and disposal/recycling, FAQs etc.)

Proven effectiveness

All the signage available in the prevention package has been tested in pilots, where we've worked with local authority partners around the country to trial interventions designed for specific littering hotspots. We used new evaluation methods, providing unprecedented robustness in proving effectiveness.

Each intervention has been proven to reduce littered gum by at least a third and in many cases up to 64%, whilst being easy to execute and highly scalable. This effect is sustained over the long term - a single campaign can be retained for up to a year before starting to lose effectiveness.

In addition, our tests showed that the signage can be more than twice as effective as cleansing alone. A site that has only been cleaned will return to a normal rate of gum littering after just 4 months.

Given the considerable expense of removing littered gum, this has important implications, allowing councils to make cleansing and litter prevention budgets go much further.

“We were really surprised and happy to see the scale and effectiveness of the signs. Our campaign pointing out bins around bus stops on Islington High Street halved gum littering in the area. Being able to access free materials proven to help us save money and keep our local environment clean is a win-win for us.” Islington Council

The Chewing Gum Taskforce

Established in 2021, a new partnership has been set up to remove gum litter from high streets.

The Chewing Gum Task Force brings together some of the country’s major chewing gum producers, including Mars Wrigley, Perfetti Van Melle and some producers of nicotine replacement therapy gum. Under the scheme, administered by independent environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the firms will invest up to £10m over five years to help reduce chewing gum pollution.

The investment is used to achieve two objectives: cleaning up historic gum litter staining and using behavioural interventions to encourage people to bin their gum. The scheme means chewing gum producers are not only helping to clean up towns and cities but crucially taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.

How the task force works

​​The investment will be used to fund grants for councils for street cleansing, which may include funding internal cleansing teams, outsourcing to contractors or investing in specialist equipment. A bespoke prevention package of targeted behaviour change signage and advice will be provided to councils for free alongside the grant. The grant application process and evaluation will be managed by SOENECS, with representatives from the four nations determining which councils will get awards. The prevention package will be managed by Behaviour Change, who will also work with four selected councils to evaluate change in littering behaviour over the long term.

This toolkit of behaviour change interventions

Chewing gum manufacturer Mars Wrigley has invested in campaigns and partnerships addressing litter across the UK for many years. Most recently, through a 5-year innovation programme and collaboration with Behaviour Change, they worked with local partners to test a range of ways to encourage responsible behaviour, which resulted in this set of proven interventions to reduce gum littering. These interventions are now being deployed by the Chewing Gum Taskforce to encourage responsible disposal of gum.

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