Is chewing gum biodegradable?

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I was wondering if anyone knew whether or not chewing gum is biodegradable? I chew a lot of gum when I’m paddling, inevitably it looses its flavor, and I spit it out. I make sure the micro trash rappers are disposed of properly, but I’m wondering if the gum is going to the bottom of the sea to last there forever, or will it eventually break down?

I would not spit it into the water
Cannot be good for fish.

A major component of gum used to be made by Union Carbide (now Dow) here in Charleston WV.


My understanding
Is that it is not and that it will stick around (no pun intended) for decades if not more.

I may be wrong though.


interesting article at BBC
"Towards a Biodegradable Chewing Gum

Due of the persistence of chewing gum, Wrigleys has invested heavily into research into biodegradable1 chewing gums since about 1988, but no new products are yet ready for consumer testing.

The reason for this is that chewing gum is essentially a flavoured, synthetic rubber; that is, it is made up of polymers, which are very long molecules. It is the polymeric nature of gum which provides its texture, making it stretchy and pleasant to chew; but these same polymers also make gum sticky. A further problem is that the polymers in gum have a particular affinity with the polymers in asphalt and thus stick to it extremely fastly.

In 2005, university scientists in the USA did succeed in producing a biodegradable gum based on a protein called corn zein, a byproduct of ethanol production for use as a biofuel. The gum hardens, instead of becoming sticky, once it is spit out. When this gum is spit out onto the ground it hardens instead of becoming sticky, and is completely decomposed in about two weeks.

Other potential applications for this product include providing a matrix for the growth of cells in tissue engineering."

I don’t chew much gum but don’t have anything against it per se. Just never enjoyed it that much. I just tend to have a small toothbrush and travel size toothpaste I keep in my desk at work or bag for school. I’m a dork but I find it fixes that after-lunch-breath problem with the bonus of curbing snacking between meals.

Thanks for bringing up the topic. Hadn’t really thought about it that much- Toddy

It stays wherever I put it
I chew gum occasionally, often while paddling. Interestingly, I seem to chew in the same cadence as my paddling. When I’m finished chewing, since I’m not at a desk or a lunch counter, I just stick it on the bottom of the boat.


hence…no leaks!!:slight_smile: NM

What if you swallow it? nm

Chewing gum is forever
Well, ok, forever is a long time, but it will stick around for a long, long time.

Removing chewing gum from sidewalks and subway platforms is a major problem for janitorial types.

Once it gets smashed and fused by sunlight into the concrete it is nearly impossible to remove.

I only spit mine on highways where
noone will walk.Given the state of our highways, I am doing my part to hold them together.

Hey String
Did you start this post under a fake name to relive your great Orange Peel debate? :slight_smile:


Stick it on a rock
and cover it with an orange peel. Then sprinkle your coffee grounds on it.

I throw my coffee grounds into the ocean, thank you very much. Limes may be thrown in as well, depending on where I am traveling. I figure if I am in a country which grows limes, I may as well dispose of them there as well. Same goes for egg shells, and tea bags, sans the paper. The gum is something else entirely though. I may start saving it, and carry some crazy glue, and use both for repairs if need be…

My gum loses its flavor
on the bedpost overnight.

I imagine it would lose its flavor on a tentpole overnight too.



– Last Updated: Jan-21-08 9:20 AM EST –

I think it will eventually degrade, just as long as you don't use 303 Protectant. ;)


carry in
carry out.

When your mother says don’t chew it
do you swallow it in spite?

They grow limes in Boston?
Many, I’m taking my next winter vacation there!

a bit more complex than that
The rock must be within 50’ of the water, and you must urinate on it.

maybe take up smoking

I do the same thing,
spit mine on the highway with the thought that I’m doing my small part to help the road ways.