THOUSANDS of pounds is spent every year in Bradford clearing the streets of the menace of discarded chewing gum, but it’s hoped a new scheme will help to tackle the unsightly blight.

Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) has invested in a set of environment-friendly bins to encourage more people to dispose of gum in the proper way rather than spitting it on the floor. As well as protecting city centre pavements, the highly-visible pink bins are made from recycled gum.

BID project officer Leanne Holmes said: “These bins are in operation in a variety of towns, cities and other locations – including schools, universities, airports and railway stations – around the country and they have been shown to make a real difference to the cleanliness of our streets.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“The receptacles – called Gumdrops – are bright pink and look like strawberry-flavoured bubble gum bubbles, which makes them a fun, colourful and easy-to-spot way to encourage people to not just spit out their gum onto the street for others to walk on. We hope they’ll have an impact in Bradford and help to control the horrible squashed white splodges which plague our pavements in the city centre.”

Bradford BID, the limited company funded by levy-payers to help promote and develop the city centre, spends thousands of pounds every year hot-washing pavements to remove chewing gum.

In the last year alone, the BID cleaning team estimated it had removed more than 158,000 pieces of gum in just the one part of the key footfall areas cleaned during the pandemic.

The bins will initially be installed in eight locations including John Street, Westgate, Kirkgate, Broadway and Market Street.

The Gumdrop scheme falls under the Clean pillar in the BID’s five-year Business Plan.

It is chaired by David Crossley, general manager of the Midland Hotel, who said: “Carelessly discarded chewing gum is a blight on town and city centres and many other public areas throughout the country and Bradford is nowhere special in that respect. But with our beautiful Victorian architecture and our fabulous stone pavements, it sticks out a mile and really lets the city down. 

“What drives people to spit out their mess on to the streets and pavements is a mystery to all of us – after all, they wouldn’t do it in their own gardens or drives or the pavements in front of their houses.

Whatever the reason for this highly anti-social behaviour, we can’t just keep spending thousands of pounds clearing it up every year, we have to educate people and we have to make it easier for them to dispose of their gum properly.

"Providing these really clever recyclable bins and making them so easy to spot, we can take away a lot of their excuses while also giving them an opportunity to be virtuous by doing something useful and practical to help the environment.”