January 2006

Sticky situation shows progress

London— A new national campaign to tackle gum litter will be rolled out next year following the success of three Defra-funded campaigns.

The sticky problem was addressed earlier this year in local campaigns using a series of awareness-raising advertisements, with the threat of a £50 fine for those caught dropping gum.

In Preston, the campaign helped to reduce gum litter by 80 per cent. Meanwhile in Manchester and Maidstone, as well as Preston, a combination of modern posters and catchy by-lines improved awareness of the problem.

Now authorities up and down the country will have a chance to address the problem thanks to more funding from the Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG).

The Group - formed of, among others, chewing gum manufacturers, the Local Government Association, ‘Keep Britain Tidy’, the Improvement and Development Agency and Defra - has put forward the funds to support at least a dozen more high profile advertising campaigns.

The three pilot campaigns were run simultaneously in Manchester, Preston and Maidstone. Each tested a different combination of advertising (paid for by CGAG), disposal solutions (such as gum pouches), enforcement and local publicity.

The advertising slogan - ‘...thanks for binning your gum when you’re done’ - was remembered by over 55 per cent of those questioned in the post-campaign surveys, while the gum pouches, which provide a clean disposal option when there are no bins around, were also well-received.

However, it was the threat of the fines that provided the greatest disincentive to potential gum-droppers.

In June, the first measures under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act came into force, including clarification that chewing gum is litter and confirming that people who drop gum risk £50 fines - and it was this information in the campaigns that provided the most convincing deterrent to potential gum droppers.

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