Minister Naughten launches 2018 gum litter campaign

Minister for Communication, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten, today officially launched the Gum Litter Taskforce’s gum litter education campaign in Strokestown, Co Roscommon. Food Drink Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the industry, are members of the Gum Litter Taskforce.

This year’s campaign launch coincides with the release of the latest report of the National Litter Monitoring Pollution System which shows that the percentage of chewing gum as a proportion of litter dropped to 8% in 2017 from 15% in 2016.

The campaign has been successful to date in changing the public’s behaviour by encouraging correct gum disposal through a targeted education awareness campaign. Last year’s campaign maintained an all-time high of 93% of people stating that they regard chewing gum as litter, pointing to the attitudinal impact which the campaign has affected since it first began.

Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) and conducted by Kantar Millward Brown during the 2017 campaign has demonstrated the campaign’s positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. The latest results show 86% of people saying they dispose of their gum correctly, compared with just 54% in 2006 when the campaign began.

Speaking at the official launch of the 2018 campaign, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said: “I am delighted to once again launch this year’s Gum Litter Taskforce Campaign off the back of a new negotiated agreement which my Department signed in April of this year. The campaign continues to demonstrate the positive impact it is having on towns and communities across the country. It is important we continue to capitalise on these successes by driving the campaign further.

"Although very positive work has been done to date in tackling the issue of littered gum in our towns and cities, we need to ensure momentum is maintained towards ridding it from our streets entirely. I am looking forward to seeing the new and innovative ways that this year’s campaign will look to engage with communities nationwide to raise awareness of this very important issue and affect widespread and positive behavioral change towards gum disposal”.

Paul Kelly, Chairman of the GLT added: “Each year, the GLT campaign endeavours to educate people on the proper manner in which to dispose of their used gum. Beginning in 2007, the campaign has seen sustained and marked progress in changing people’s attitudes to littered gum which has in turn positively impacted upon behavioural patterns when it comes to gum disposal. As ever, we are committed to continuing efforts to eradicate gum from our streets entirely. Today’s national launch marks an important part of a wider nationwide campaign which also includes a national advertising campaign and a school’s education programme, Bin It!”.

Katherine Hogan, Corporate Affairs Director, Mars Ireland and Wrigley said: “Mars Ireland and Wrigley are delighted once more to be part of such a successful campaign. Although the GLT is funded by industry, it could not have achieved the level of success to date without the active and enthusiastic participation of local authorities up and down the country to whom we are very grateful. This year’s campaign contains a number of new platforms and means through which we will be able to extend our awareness raising and educational outreach amongst the public and we are excited to see how this will play out. We look forward to playing our part in tackling the issue of littered gum and working alongside local communities in achieving this goal”.

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