Spain moves to make chewing gum "less sticky"

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

The Spanish government has introduced new regulation to make chewing gum less sticky in a bid to reduce the high cost of street cleaning in the country.

Following a cabinet meeting last Friday, the government decree, which was aimed at updaing 32-year-old legislation, will ensure chewing gum bases in Spain are derived from a copolymer of vinyl acetate and vinyl laurate.

The Spanish authorities said that this copolymer has the benefit of making gum easier to remove from surfaces.

Vinyl acetate is a chemical used to build polymers and can be found in glue, plastics, emulsion paints, lacquers, cosmetics and inks.

Barcelona's city hall claims to scrape up 1,800 bits of gum a day from its streets - costing more than €100,000 a year. It has introduced fines of up to €450 for gum-droppers, reports The Guardian​.

“Chewing gum has been linked with littering for some time (this is why it was subject to a long-term ban in Singapore) and anything the industry can do to reduce this will help its image with the authorities,”​ said Jonathan Thomas, an analyst at Leatherhead Food Research.

“I would expect further innovations in this area,” ​he told ConfectioneryNews.com

Degradable chewing gum

Meanwhile, this October saw UK firm Revolymer launching Rev7 in the US, a chewing gum polymer that the company claims is removable and degradable.

Commercialisation of Revolymer’s proprietary gum technology follows the successful completion of the self affirmed GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status for its Rev 7 polymer earlier this year.

“Revolymer’s technology contributes towards solving a very costly and environmentally challenging problem,”​ said Roger Pettman PhD, chairman and CEO of Revolymer.

Pettman said that gum made from the polymer Rev 7, if it goes into a drain, is expected to degrade between two to three months and on pavements in less than two years. After time, the gum starts to crack, goes like a spider’s web and disintegrates into pieces, he said.

Pettman told this publication that although gum formulas would need to be tweaked, the polymer was a “drop in”​ in terms of manufacture and required no additional investment.

The cost of production, he said, worked out to around eight to nine cents per pack of gum, compared to the six to nine cents required to make regular gum.

Related topics: Gum, Regulation & Safety

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