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Chewing Gum Campaign

What is the Chewing Gum Campaign?

Bedford Borough Council were awarded funding to run an advertising campaign, in an attempt to reduce littering from chewing gum. The campaign started on the 10th September 2007. The funding paid for advertising in bus shelters and phone boxes across the Borough.

The funding has come from DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The aim of the advertising campaign was to:

  • Raise awareness of the problem of chewing gum litter
  • Encourage responsible disposal of gum
  • Educate people that dropping gum is littering and that those who drop gum on the floor can be fined up to £75


What have the Council done to support the campaign?

The Council have produced Gum Raps - available free of charge from the Pride in Bedford marquee and Town Hall. Gum Raps are slips of recycled paper that you place your gum into when you're done with it. So, if you are on the tube, or on the bus, or there's no bin nearby you can keep your gum on your person, safely wrapped in the gum wrap, until you find a bin.


On 10th September, the launch of the campaign began outside the Harpur Centre. Advertising vehicles supplied by DEFRA and the Borough’s own gum busting machine were on hand to reinforce that gum littering will not be tolerated.


What is the fine for dropping gum?

From September 18th onwards, Enforcement Officers will be on the look out and if they see anyone littering the pavements or highway with gum (or cigarette butts), you can be fined £75.


Why should I care about not dropping gum?


  • You will get fined £75 if you are caught dropping gum
  • Discarded gum is unhygienic and un-slightly
  • It costs approx 3p for a piece of chewing gum, but 10p per piece to clean it off the street
  • The Borough currently spends around £16,000 hot washing the pavements of gum each year

Where can I get a Gum Wrap?

Gum Raps are available for Town Hall reception and from selected town centre businesses.

Poster Competition

Aged between 9-18? Take part in our competition and design a poster that will encourage people not to throw their chewing gum on the floor. Top prize is a digital camera and a chance for your poster to be seen across the borough. This competition has now closed.


Did you know?

20 million people in the UK use chewing gum each year

In the UK, we can get through more than 935 million packs of chewing gum each year. Most of this is discarded on the streets and roads of the UK

Discarded gum can be dangerous for wild animals and pets. It gets caught in feathers and fur and when swallowed can lead to suffocation



After the first initial month of campaigning Bedford Borough achieved an overall 16% reduction in the amount of chewing gum dropped in the Town Centre. 

One fixed penalty notice was issued to a member of the public for dropping chewing gum.

Over 100 entries were received from Middle Schools in response to the poster competition.


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