Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is Gum Biodegradable?

So I was spitting out my gum on the way home from work today and my son asks me if I was littering.  I never thought of discarding my gum in this way as littering.  Inside a building?  Sure.  On the underside of a desk?  Completely gross and definitely littering of one kind or another.

But down the road?  I always figured my gum would degrade over time and disappear.  Looking on the Internet it appears I am correct...correct over the very long term...but correct nonetheless.  Many sources claim that gum isn't biodegradable but they are making a short time period based observation.  Gum is certainly not biodegradable like a banana peel is.  The latex, plastic and/or gum in your gum degrade over very long periods of time and some reports even have it being compostable.  It will take decades or longer for gum, left alone in an outdoor environment. to degrade...but it will eventually do so...

Cities and countries spend millions and millions every year cleaning up sidewalks and subways and such from carelessly disposed gum so don't just spit it out anywhere but if you happen to spit it out on the highway don't feel too guilty about it.  The number of tires that run over it and reduce it to smaller and smaller particles should actually accelerate the degrading process...but the environment will be better off if you dispose of it in a landfill and there will be less of a chance of your
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