Have you ever been walking down the street and come across a piece of gum stuck to the sidewalk? Or maybe you’ve been handed a piece of gum by a friend and wondered what it’s made of? Well, I know I have. Recently, I came across a post on Instagram that claimed gum is made of rubber. I didn’t know if this was true or not, so I decided to do some research and find out for myself. In this article, I’ll be sharing my findings on whether gum is made of rubber and if it’s biodegradable. I’ll also touch on the decomposition of gum and the impact it can have on the environment. So, whether you’re a gum chewer or not, come along on this journey with me as we explore the truth behind this sticky subject.
Is gum made of Rubber?
Spoiler: yes, but synthetic rubber. Chewing gum is not made from rubber like the one that comes from trees. It is made from a synthetic material called polyisobutylene or butyl rubber. Butyl rubber isn’t the only material that makes gum chewy. According to Science Focus, “Polyisobutylene is mixed with plasticisers and materials – all food grade – to make the gum mixture chewable.” In the same way, polyisobutylene is used as an inner lining in the tire tube to hold air and withstand high pressure.
Is gum biodegradable?
When it comes to chewing gum, you might think that it’s just like any other piece of trash that will disappear in no time. But the truth is, most gums are made from fancy materials called polyisobutylene, and these materials don’t go away easily. They can stick around for years and cause problems for the environment and animals.
But don’t worry, there are gums made from a natural sap called chicle, which comes from a tree called the sapodilla tree. These gums are made by companies like Glee Gum, Chicza Gum, and Chewsy Gum, and they’re super friendly to the environment because they break down quickly.
It’s worth mentioning that while chicle is a natural product, it still comes from cutting down trees, so it’s always important to think about the whole process and not only the biodegradability of the gum.
How many years does it take for gum to decompose?
Some gums can take a long time to break down, like years or even decades, while others might disappear a little quicker. But the truth is, most gums will not completely disappear. They might become brittle and break into small pieces, but they won’t just poof! be gone.
According to Active Sustainability, it may take up to 5 years for gum to decompose. The gums that are made from synthetic materials like polyisobutylene, won’t disappear at all, they’ll stick around for a long time and that’s not good for the environment and animals. On the other hand, gums made from natural materials like chicle, will go away faster, but it still takes time.
It’s important to remember that even though gum may not disappear completely, it will change over time. It will lose its shape, become brittle and break into small pieces. That’s why it’s important to throw gum in the trash and not on the ground.
In conclusion, chewing gum is a popular treat, but it can also be detrimental to the environment if not disposed of properly. It’s important to be mindful of the types of gum we use and opt for those made from natural materials like chicle, which are more environmentally friendly and break down quickly. Although gum may not disappear completely, it will degrade over time, and it’s essential to dispose of it properly to avoid any negative impact on the environment.
Let’s spread awareness about this topic and encourage others to make conscious choices about their gum usage. Together, we can make a positive difference in protecting our environment.
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