I honestly love this idea of waste chewing gum being converted into a raw material for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). According to this press release from UK-based custom compounding expert, Teknor Apex Company, it has been working with Gumdrop Ltd. to advance its technology of recycling waste chewing gum to produce commercial-scale quantities of TPE compounds under the brand Gum-Tec that meet the requirements of specific applications, including optimized elasticity, compression set, tensile properties, and other mechanical properties as well as processability.
Gumdrop has also created a program for reclaiming pre- and post-consumer gum for use in Gum-Tec production. The chewing gum industry is cited as around 500,000 tpa. The chewing gum waste comprises up to 30% of the new gum-based TPE compounds.
Among the first applications for Gum-Tec compounds was that of Wellington boots now available at www.mygumboots.com, and the latest is shoe soles. Other uses include caster wheels, automotive bumpers and floor mats, window gaskets, wristwatch straps, toothbrush grips and extruded pencils.
Gumdrop was founded in 2009. The company also has a project called Small Steps that provides emergency aid, footwear and food to the children living on these landfill sites in Cambodia, Laos and Romania. For every pair of Gum-tec® Gumboots bought, the company send a pair of Gum-tec® Gumboots to a child living on Cluj Landfill site in Romania.
Boots produced from Gum-Tec can also be recycled back to the company.