Design Student Tackles Scourge of Used Bubblegum

The Gumdrop program is twofold, providing handy waste bins for "ABC" gum and products that recycle that used gum.

Gumdrop

25-year-old design student Anna Bullus—who's created "optical illusion" stools and shape-shifting couches—is now tackling the urban blight caused by used chewing gum. Her Gumdrop program has two parts: first, handy bins that encourage gum disposal; and second, a process she invented to make new products out of recycled gum.

Bullus first began thinking about recycling gum after seeing the pockmarked sidewalks surrounding her school, Brighton University. She realized that gum was simply modified rubber and should therefore be able to be recycled. But it took her eight months to perfect a process of her own invention, which first turns used gum into pellets then into a plastic using secret additives.

For the Gumdrop program, Bullus then created bins for bubblegum, which are currently scattered around central London.

Gumdrop

From the gum she gathers, Bullus plans on creating products using her recycling process. Already, she's working on a seat cushion that feels like memory foam—and naturally, comes in what looks like an oversized gum wrapper:

Chewy Pad Chewy Pad

Currently, the Gumdrop bins are awaiting a larger scale roll-out, and Bullus is already thinking about what other products she could make with the gum that she collects. As she points out, it all makes economic sense: Britain alone spends $230 million a year removing chewing gum from sidewalks—they'd be totally clean in four months if no more gum was tossed on them. Moreover, it costs three times as much money to remove the gum as it costs to produce it, so it makes sense for the bins to be everywhere. (Wouldn't it also make sense, given the UK's pinko socialist leanings, to tax the gum companies?)

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5 Comments

  • The_Strange_Remain

    I love this! It's everything good about education and capitalism. Take a mess, refine it to something useful, make a profit from it AND leave your community better off!

    That said, PLEASE pay attention to the advertizing element here! You must have an aggressive public campaign so people know what these are and why they're good. Were I simply walking down the street and saw this hanging up without context, I'd have no idea what it was about and assume the gum inside was just teenagers behaving as teenagers often will.

  • Chris Reich

    I love to see talent and admire Anna's work---wow, at 25 no less.

    Tend to agree on the gum collector. I wouldn't want anything made from recycled chewing gum. Nor do I think these special bins will do much good. Trash disposal requires a change in attitude more than receptacle. Remember the tear coming from the native American as he looked over the polluted landscape? That single image did more than this gum collector will accomplish (the device, certainly not the designer)

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • David Cecil

    Well done, Anna. Anyone that can so effectively use creativity to solve problems (even problems like used bubble gum) is going to get hired wherever she wants to get hired. Love it.

    --
    David Cecil | Owner
    Johnny Lightning Strikes Again
    Web Design. Graphic Design. Branding.

  • Ed Bentinck

    Sorry, but if people are already not bothering to throw their gum in public bins (of which there are plenty) how will this solution change their habit? It's a lovely thought, and the products sound great, but it doesn't solve the primary issue.
    The 'gumdrop' is just a glorified bin. Sure, it makes use of the gum that is being thrown away responsibly, but the pavements will continue to be heavily littered.
    On another note, I definitely agree that gum should be taxed higher.

  • The_Strange_Remain

     There is the issue of novelty, which this device has going for it. Humans are attracted to novelty and it is enough to change behaviors in principal. Whether or not this particular instance of novelty will take off is another thing altogether, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.