The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mr. Denis Naughten, T.D., and Food Drink Ireland (FDI), a business sector of IBEC, have announced the renewal of the negotiated agreement between the Department and the Chewing Gum Industry for a further three-year period (2018 – 2020). The initiative aims to build on the success of public awareness campaigns and education programmes to date, and introduce new elements to help raise awareness of the impact of gum litter and encourage proper gum disposal. The agreement represents a €10.2 million commitment by industry over a three-year period and includes new agreed mechanisms to further enhance and reinvigorate the campaign.

Welcoming the renewal of the agreement, Minister Naughten said:

“The agreement to renew this initiative for the three-year period to 2020 represents a genuine commitment by industry to finding a solution to improper gum disposal. Monitoring results since 2008 have demonstrated an improvement in gum litter levels over the course of each Gum Litter Taskforce campaign, with a consistent reduction in gum litter as a proportion of total litter from 30.8% in 2008, falling annually to a low of 11.2% in 2015, as measured by the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report. This demonstrates that the campaign has had a positive impact and I am confident that this new agreement will see further reductions in gum litter levels.”

The renewed programme will continue to focus on achieving a lasting change in gum disposal behaviour, by encouraging people to put used gum in a bin. Several important elements will be continued, including the ‘Bin It’ school tour –the schools education programme target 14-16 year olds.

The new agreement will also include:

– Responsible chewing gum disposal messaging on television advertising in Ireland
– Responsible chewing gum disposal messaging on packaging
– On-line and educational programmes targeted at younger consumers
– An increased social media presence across key platforms including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to increase core audience engagement
– Standalone experiential events such as the “Litter Lounge” and “Out of Home” activations around the country

The programme is comprehensive and highly targeted in order to address the root cause of the problem. Acknowledging the industry’s commitment to continuing to invest significantly in research and development aimed at creating a gum base that is less adhesive and/or more degradable, the Minister said that he believes industry is genuinely committed to finding an innovative solution to the particular litter problems caused by the improper disposal of chewing gum.

“This is a well thought out example of Government and industry working positively and constructively together to improve our environment to the benefit of all of our citizens”

Source: Irish Government News Service