The Challenge of Gum

April 2020

That gum you are chewing has lost its flavour.  No waste bin is nearby.  When walking the easy solution is to spit out stale gum onto the pavement.  Later someone steps on the gum pressing it onto the walkway.  It may end up on the bottom of someone’s shoe.  If in a meeting that stale gum may be deposited on the underside of a chair or table.  Wherever the gum ends up, it soon hardens and turns black with dirt.

Discarded gum is more than unsightly.  It damages property, affects its appearance and is bad for the environment.  Gum is not biodegradable and must be manually removed.

Removing gum without damaging property is a challenge.  High water pressure or force can damage walkways, flooring and furniture.  Even after cleaning some gum will leave permanent oil stains.

Cleaning gum from property is a big job.  High heat or extreme cold work best for smaller surface areas but is time consuming.  Steam machines can be used without disturbing pedestrian traffic with cleaning being done during daytime hours.  Extreme cold in the form of dry ice blasting is also effective but requires specialized training and equipment.  Neither cleaning solution is practical for large areas or on asphalt which is easily damaged.

The best solution for large outdoor areas is a hot pressure wash of the entire surface.  This will eliminate gum residue while cleaning grime and brings the surface back to near-original condition.

Better yet, educate residents about the damage and cost of discarding gum anywhere other than a proper waste container.