Lam: So what are the economic concerns of gum?
Nisker: If you can imagine all that gum waste collecting on our sidewalks (not to mention, on our streetcar seats, carpets in public spaces, chairs in classrooms, our hair, etc.) there’s a lot of gross chewed gum sticking around. Most people ignore it in small patches, but where it concentrates it’s a blight. Towns and cities in the U.K. are leaders at ridding gum waste—millions of pounds are spent removing gum on London’s streets. Across the U.K., that number is even higher. That’s a lot of money that could go elsewhere. When gum is being removed from public spaces, that’s taxes dollars being spent. If it’s private business, or business associations, that’s a cost that being past to consumers.
Lam: How many millions are we talking about?
Nisker: I don’t have a figure for Canada, but in the U.K. it’s £56 million. In Canada and the U.S., it seems that the cost falls on local business owners, whereas in the U.K. it’s tax money and private funds.