Council targets sticky problem

Published on 21st September 2011

gum target in Cheltenham High Street

A trial scheme to stop chewing gum messing up Cheltenham's streets is to be launched on Thursday 22 September by Cheltenham Borough Council

The scheme encourages gum chewers to put their gum on a special disposal board called a GumTarget, instead of dropping it on the ground.   Initially there will be two GumTargets located on the fingerpost signs, one outside Marks & Spencer and the other outside Primark.  The GumTargets have removable sheets that are regularly changed.  At first the sheets will say ‘Stick your gum here’, but the boards can sport a choice of celebrity faces or fun slogans to encourage the public to stick their gum to them.

John Marcer, environmental maintenance officer, said: ‘Removing gum is labour intensive as our routine street cleaning doesn't get rid of it and we have to use specialist jet washing equipment, which can also damage paving stones.  This can cost up to £14,000 per year.   We hope people will work with us on this to produce a cleaner town centre’’.

Councillor Roger Whyborn, cabinet member for sustainability, said: “Discarded chewing gum makes our streets unsightly and hazardous.  Anything which stops people dropping gum on the streets will be welcomed and I look forward to reviewing the results of this trial.”

The scheme has been successfully launched in other parts of the country with tangible results.

The GumTarget initiative was developed by award winning company Meteora Limited, which focuses on litter prevention and awareness.

For media enquiries, contact:  Annette Wight, Tel : 01242 264311, email


Photo opportunity - Thursday 22 September at 11 am outside M&S

Gum Facts

  • Three and a half billion pieces of gum are disposed of every year in the UK, mostly in a thoughtless way
  • Three-quarters of the population are believed to be regular gum-chewers
  • The number of packs of gum bought every year in the UK is 980 million
  • Most gum-users are aged between 16 and 44, evenly divided between men and women
  • The cost of removal in the UK alone is thought to be up to be in excess of £150 million per year
  • The annual UK confectionery market is worth approximately £5.5 billion. Chewing gum is the fastest growing part of the confectionery business in the last 5 years
  • At any one time Oxford Street is littered with up to 300,000 pieces of gum
  • Turkey is the largest producer of chewing gum with more than 60 firms

For more information on GumTargets visit Meteora's website.