Is chewed bubble gum compostable?


Is there a piece of gum in my organics bin?

I finally set up the compost bin in my classroom, which allowed our organic material to be turned into compost. I emptied the bin after school and noticed that one of my students had left a piece of gum in the can. I was unsure if chewing gum was compostable. As a rule of thumb, if an object comes from anything that was living, then the odds are pretty good that the item can be composted. The question was, what was bubble gum composed of?

A little about the gum you chew

Chewing gums used to be made from natural plant gums. These chewing gums were 100% biodegradable and compostable. When consumers needed gum to last longer and increase the rate of production, manufacturers decided to add natural rubber to the formula. Natural latex rubber also happens to be biodegradable. Chemists copied latex because we needed more rubber to make other objects such as tires. This man-made latex rubber ultimately found its way into today’s chewing gum. As it turns out, natural latex rubber and manmade rubber share the same chemical polymer, and both are biodegradable.

The next time you finish chewing your gum

The next time you want to reduce material going to the landfill, instead of tossing your gum on the ground, why not place it in the compost bin? Beats having to clean it off your shoe if you accidently step on someone’s chewed bubble gum.