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How long does chewing gum take to degrade?

How long does chewing gum take to degrade?

Have you ever wondered How long does chewing gum takes to degrade? Continue reading this interesting AgroCorrn article that will show the degradation time of chewing gum and other wastes that can also become very polluting.

It is quite common to walk down the street and find chewing gum stuck to the ground, but not only do we find them on the ground, but sometimes they can also be found in structures that are parts of the public road, such as banks, traffic lights or walls. This is an aesthetic problem but also a hygienic and, above all, environmental problem.

What is chewing gum made of?

The chewing gum ingredients are soluble and insoluble. On the one hand, there are insoluble ingredients in the gum base and other components that provide the aroma. The rest of the ingredients are soluble. They dissolve in water, and among them are sweeteners, some flavors, polyols, sugar, and glucose syrup. Perhaps all the ingredients mentioned are known, and we have read them at some time on the labels of the containers of some food products. Without a doubt, the most complex ingredient in chewing gum is gum base.

The gum base or gum base is a substance that contains nutrients, insoluble and inert, which, as its name indicates, acts as a base for the edible and soluble part of the gum, formed by the components that contribute to the flavor and the sugar. Therefore, the gum base is made up of different raw materials that are classified into different types:

  • Antioxidants: Used to prevent gum base and flavoring components from oxidizing
  • Elastomers: contribute to the elasticity of the rubber.
  • Resins: they serve to soften and bind the compound.
  • Fillings: thanks to these, a better texture is achieved.
  • Plasticizers: they help a mixture resulting from the rubber to be homogeneous and soften the elastomer.

How long does chewing gum take to decompose?

Chewing gums have become an element that is part of our streets and infrastructures due to the irresponsibility of the consumer. Although it may seem that chewing gum has no impact on our environment, leaving it lying on any side (roads, subway stations, buses, walls …) has a visual impact and is detrimental to hygiene and the environment. In addition, it is important to mention that cleaning to remove these chewing gums represents a significant economic investment since it requires specialized techniques and machinery.

The need to do this cleaning well done is because the gum takes between 3 and 5 years to decompose. If the gum is left stuck, it can only cause problems like those mentioned above. For example, it has been said that they cause hygiene problems because they attract large amounts of germs. According to some studies, a single gum can contain up to 50,000 germs. Another important problem is that the more time the gum spends in the area that has been deposited, the more it degrades it. Therefore, if the situation occurs in a natural environment in a short time, that piece of soil is destroyed, apart from posing a danger to animals and plants.

How long does chewing gum take to decompose?

Where to throw the gum?

All these impacts and problems mentioned can be solved with the simple gesture of wrapping the gum in a paper once it has finished chewing and depositing it in the nearest bin or container since these cannot be recycled and will have to go to a controlled waste landfill. You can learn about these in this other post about What landfills are, types and consequences.

We also recommend reading this other article on the most difficult waste to recycle or manage since chewing gum is among them, but many more.

Where to throw the gum?

How long does it take for other waste to degrade?

It has already been shown how long a chewing gum takes to decompose, then the degradation time of other waste will be discussed.

  • How long does an apple take to degrade: an apple degrades thanks to the action of decomposing organisms and environmental conditions, and it can take up to 6 months to degrade.
  • How long does it take for plastic to degrade: depending on the type of plastic, it can take anywhere from 150 years, which is the time it takes for a plastic bag, to 1000 years for a PET bottle to disappear. If you want to know more about this topic, you can expand this information on How long it takes for plastic to degrade.
  • How long does it take for the paper to degrade: paper that is basically cellulose takes up to 1 year to degrade. Here you can find out more about how long it takes for the paper to degrade.
  • How long does it take for glass to degrade: glass is a very resistant material composed mainly of silica sand. This material remains for the longest time in nature, and it takes from 4000 years to more than 5000 years to degrade. More about how long it takes for glass to degrade.
  • How long does it take for a can to degrade: for a can thrown into the environment to degrade, it needs a lot of rain and humidity to oxidize and disappear completely. These take up to 10 years to disappear.
  • How long does it take for a cigarette butt to degrade: between 1 and two years is the time it takes for a cigarette to degrade. These end up being one of the main pollutants in water bodies.
  • How long does it take for a battery to degrade: when batteries are no longer useful, they must be taken to a clean point so that they are properly treated, since, if they are left lying in the middle, they lose their protective role due to degradation, they release metals and end up contaminating the environment where they were dumped. It takes 500 to 1000 years for a pile to decompose completely.

We also advise you to consult this other article with complete information on How long it takes for waste to degrade.

If you want to read more articles similar to How long does gum take to degrade, we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category.

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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