Natural alternatives to chewing gum do exist, but you don’t have to chew gum, it’s often just a habit. Most brands are packed with all kinds of rubbish like plastic and antifreeze, and endless chewing can result in jaw and headaches. When discarded, it costs councils more to clean it up, than to buy it. Pressure-washing pavements also presents slipping hazards.
Most ‘natural gums’ are made with the processed sweetener xylitol, which organic chemist Shane Ellison says it can ‘rip up your insides’ and lead to stomach cramps. Xylitol is lethal to pets (dogs are attracted to its sweet taste). Fortunately a few natural gum companies use a little organic cane sugar.
Simply Gum is sold in Iceland. The South American tree sap is lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar, rice flour prevents it being too sticky. Flavoured with essential oils (avoid for pregnancy/nursing), choose from mint, cinnamon, fennel or ginger (good for nausea and sea sickness).
Vermints is another US brand (find in shops or buy online below links). These lovely little tins look like the ones your father or grandfather carried around, and contain real mints (with flecks of real mint leaf and ginger), sweetened with cane sugar, maple syrup and tapioca. Choose from peppermint, gingermint, wintergreen, cinnamon, Chai or café express.
To remove stuck gum, place clothing in a freezer bag for 15 minutes, then remove with a knife. For carpets, chill with ice cubes, then use a stiff toothbrush (or tweezers to remove final bits). If gum is stuck in your hair, cover with olive oil or peanut butter (not near dogs, or they will lick your head!) Wait a few minutes, the gum should slide out.
If you run a school or council, buy a bright pink Gumdrop Bin. Made from recycled gum, schools and councils can save up to £2000 in clean-up costs in 12 weeks, and full bins are collected, with the gum recycled.