Wakefield Council launches campaign to tackle sticky problem

Wakefield Council has launched a new campaign to encourage people across the district to stop dropping chewing gum.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 10:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 10:12 am
Not only does chewing gum stick to clothes and shoes and look unsightly, it is also harmful to wildlife and the environment.

Not only does chewing gum stick to clothes and shoes and look unsightly, it is also harmful to wildlife and the environment.

Chewing gum is difficult to remove from streets which is why there is an issue of gum staining in towns and cities across the country. If people stop dropping their gum in the first place, then the money currently spent on clean-up costs could be put to better use elsewhere.

Dropping gum is just like dropping litter and the Council is encouraging residents across the district to #StoptheDrop and start a #LitterPickMeUp - a small act that makes a big difference and helps everyone to feel good.

Coun Jack Hemingway, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Chewing gum litter makes our streets look grubby and uncared for, and is even worse when it sticks to our clothes and shoes.

“We want people to think twice before they drop chewing gum or any form of litter – let’s take pride in our wonderful district and protect our wildlife and the environment.

“If you want to get involved in your own #LitterPickMeUp; the Council can provide free litter picking equipment and collect filled bags afterwards. Thank you to people who are already working really hard to keep our district clean and tidy.”

Wakefield Council worked with Mars Wrigley in partnership with social enterprise Behaviour Change to develop the new concept. The campaign includes a range of signs and stickers, which are designed to interrupt people at a moment where they might be thinking about getting rid of their gum – and nudge them to use the bin.

The signage has been trialled in a variety of public spaces around the district, including town centres and country parks, after research showed that these locations see the highest incidence of gum littering. Previous pilots by Mars Wrigley have proven to drastically cut clean-up costs in the long term.

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley said: “Changing behaviour is the only long-term and sustainable solution to keeping our streets clean, which is why we are very proud to have launched this pioneering campaign to tackle gum litter.”

Coun Hemingway added: “We knew that we needed a more sustainable and cost-effective way of tackling the sticky issue of gum litter in Wakefield. We are really pleased with the results we are seeing by using Behaviour Change’s gum littering signage.”

Residents, schools, community groups and businesses are invited to get involved and organise their own local #LitterPickMeUp.

They should visit the council’s dedicated web page here to find out more, or to request free litter picking equipment or arrange collection of filled bags afterwards.