The polypropylene plastic pod allows users to carry around 11 pellet pieces of gum and contains a separate compartment to hold 25 pieces of used gum. The used gum compartment is made from non-stick materials and can be emptied into the trash with a flick of the wrist.
Gumipod creator Duval Middleton told ConfectioneryNews the package was “the world's first reusable gum disposal unit” and would help rid streets and public places of gum litter.
The chewing gum industry has come under increased pressure to tackle gum litter with nations such as Mexico, Northern Ireland and Wales proposing gum taxes to cover clean-up costs in the past few years. In the UK, local councils spend around £150m ($250m) annually on gum removal.
Toilet pods to portable packs
The idea started with Duval Middleton, an architecture graduate, starting project to reduce gum litter back in 2011, after growing tired of chewing gum stuck to urinals in men’s toilets. “I felt sympathetic for those cleaning the lavatories,” he told this site.
With financing from the Prince’s Trust, he created a pod for the toilets where people could dispose of gum – much like an ashtray stuck to a wall.
He soon thought about a more portable package and has now gone public with the Gumipod after filing an application for a UK patent.
Middleton said he was open to licensing the package to a large gum manufacturer and noted he had already approached the global gum leader but it was already working with other partners.
Middleton said he would also explore alternatives to a partnership with a big name gum maker and Gumipod may even go it alone.
“We are in a great position where we can create our own gum,” said the company founder.
Gumipod is hoping to raise £50,000 ($78,000) via crowdfunding to support the business.
Two minds: Own brand or licensing
Gumpod will initially sell online for £4.99 ($7.77) for the pod only, but Middleton is exploring creating his own brand for the pod that could be sold in retail.
What do people do with finished gum?
Gumipod surveyed visitors at The Ideal Home Show in Scotland, which pulled in around 52,000 Visitors and found:
- 67% - Bin gum
- 23% - spit it on the floor
- 10% - have other disposal methods
“We are in two minds at the moment,” he said. The Gumipod inventor said the package supported graphics and could comfortably carry company brands or sports team logos so may be equally attractive for a licensing partner.
“It’s very flexible as a product and could be great for advertising,” said Middleton.
The pod is designed for pellet gum, but Middleton said the durable package could also accommodate stick gum.
The Gumipod creator sees potential for the package in Asia where streets are kept very clean and demand for chewing gum is rising.
He said the package appealed to the environmentally-conscious youth market, which he claimed had largely been neglected by major gum brands.
An alternative or companion to biodegradable gum?
Current industry efforts to reduce gum litter have focused on easy-to-remove or biodegradable gum bases.
In 2012, UK firm Revolymer was granted EU novel foods approval for its Rev7 gum base that degrades between two to three months on pavements.
Researchers from University College Cork, Ireland, patented a process for a non-sticky, biodegradable gum that uses cereal proteins in 2011, while a Dutch consortium, including TNO, are researching ways to make a similar gum.
Wrigley last year filed a patent for a chewing gum base using block polymers that it claimed was less adhesive to concrete surfaces.