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New pressure washing helps Exeter clean up unwanted gum stains

Published: 20 October 2022

Chewing gum removal in the High Street

Unsightly chewing gum stains are being removed from Exeter’s High Street as part of a new initiative from the City Council.

A powerful pressure washer is leaving the High Street looking good and free from unsightly stains.

The City Council is carrying out the work thanks to funding from The Chewing Gum Task Force grant scheme, a fund to help clean chewing gum from the UK’s towns and cities.

New signage encouraging people to put their gum in the bins is also set to go up. High pressure cleaning of the High Street to remove the stains left by chewing gum is expected to be finished by the end of the month.

Exeter City Council was among the first councils to be awarded money from The Chewing Gum Task Force.

The Chewing Gum Task Force was established by Defra and is run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Exeter’s funding is part of the first tranche of a package worth up to £10 million from major gum manufacturers including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to tackle chewing gum stains – the investment will be spread over five years.

Previous pilots run by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit Behaviour Change using this signage have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.

Cllr Amal Ghusain, Lead Councillor for City Management & Environmental Services, said: “I’m delighted by the results of the deep clean – it’s great to have the High Street looking so good.

“Now we hope that the combined effect of the new signage and seeing the streets free of the stains will encourage people to do the right thing and use the bins provided to dispose of their gum responsibly.”

Around 87% of England’s streets are stained with gum, according to Keep Britain Tidy, and the estimated costs to councils is around £7million each year.

The Chewing Gum Task Force grant fund represents a commitment from the Government and major gum manufacturers to work together to find long-term solutions to this issue.

Littering is a criminal offence and carries on-the-spot penalties of £150 in England.

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