Gumdrop scheme to tackle chewing gum menace

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THE latest plans to tackle the blight of chewing gum on the streets of Newton Stewart have been given the support of local councillors.

In a pilot scheme for the town, bright pink ball-shaped bins will be set onto lamp posts to encourage the hygienic disposal of spent gum which will then be sent to a processing plant in England for recycling.

The recycled plastic can be made into the likes of wellies, car bumpers and mobile phone cases, for example.

The scheme, called Gumdrop, sees the balls removed by the council when they are two-thirds full and the whole recepticle is then taken away for the recycling.

Local resident Mary Prince read about the scheme in a national newspaper and decided to apporach the council about having it implemented. Having missed the funding deadline for those councils looking to participate in the pilot shceme, Mary, with the help of local councillor Alistair Geddes, persisted and after contacting Gumdrop, managed to take it forward for use in Newton Stewart initially and later, if successful, in The Machars.

Mary told members of Cree Valley Community Council on Monday evening: “I was particularly enthused by this idea because Newton Stewart Business Association have for years tried to tackle the gum problem but couldn’t find a solution. This is great for the issue and also follows the recycling ethos.”

She added that whilst the council has a gum removal machine, it is expensive to use and requires council staff. The gumball means that the responsibility lies with the individual and so Mary has also contacted Alec Cowie at the Douglas Ewart High School to urge him to educate the pupils there about using the Gumdrop bin.

Funding of £400 has been granted from the community planning budget within the council and the bins should start appearing in the next couple of months.

Attempts have been made in the past to encourage correct disposal of gum such as ‘gum boards’, which were deemd unsighly and unhygienic in tourist areas like ours.

More information about the scheme will be released when the bins are unveiled.