Mars Wrigley launches gum littering toolkit

Mars Wrigley and social enterprise Behaviour Change have launched a free digital toolkit to help local authorities and property owners to reduce gum littering.

A poster encouraging the public to put gum in the bin

The campaign materials, which are free to download, include nine different designs, such as ‘Don’t drop gum’ warning signs and posters that point out the number of bins in the area. Developed by Behaviour Change, which has experience of creating campaigns for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the campaigns are intended to interrupt people at the point of gum disposal, pre-empting littering and encouraging bin use.

The toolkit has already been trialed across a variety of public spaces, including shopping centres, railway stations and electronic bus stop indicators in Cardiff, Bristol, Islington and Sheffield, with the results suggesting that the campaigns can reduce gum littering by up to 64 per cent over a sustained period of several months.

Following its involvement in the 2017 pilot scheme, Islington Council has now become the first London borough to implement the campaign, after the pilot, which focused around transport hubs including Farringdon Station and a high-street bus stop, reduced gum littering in the London Borough by 48 per cent.

A poster with an image of a kitten stuck in gum

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley commented: “We strongly believe that changing individual littering behaviour is the only long-term sustainable solution to keeping our streets clean, which is why we are very proud to be launching this pioneering toolkit in partnership with Behaviour Change.”

Chris Demetriou, Operations Manager from Islington Council, said: “It has been great to be a part of the original pilot for this toolkit. We were really surprised and happy to see the scale and effectiveness of the impact. For example, our campaign pointing out bins around a bus stop on Islington High Street led to a 48 per cent reduction in gum littering.

“We are now looking forward to installing our next campaign, maintaining a focus around transport hubs. Being able to access free materials proven to help us save money and keep our local environment clean is a win-win for council and community.”

Research conducted by Mars Wrigley has revealed that 75 per cent of people say that they always put their gum in the bin, whilst a further 19 per cent say that they bin their gum most of the time. With ethnographic research highlighting specific locations where gum is more likely to be littered, notably public areas with high footfall, Mars is seeking to target these locations by placing visual aids on street furniture, lamposts and bins.

You can find more information and download the free toolkit on the gum littering campaign’s website.