Beside cigarette butts, chewing gum is the next most prevalent form of litter on our streets. Between 80 to 90% of chewing gum are disposed of inappropriately; places like under tables, sidewalks, and the bottom our shoes.
The city of Amsterdam has come up with a novel way to reduce the amount of gum on the streets and developed an innovative new material. Three companies have come together to create sneakers that use recycled chewing gum in hopes of giving you the comfort only gum can deliver. City marketing organization Iamsterdam, local designer Explicit Wear and sustainability company Gumdrop have collaborated to design a shoe from the recycled gum.
Called Gumshoe, the shoe’s sole is made of recyclable compounds (known as Gum-Tec) produced by Gumdrop, and those compounds are made up of 20 percent gum. “We discovered gum is made from a synthetic rubber. And by breaking down these properties, we were able to create a new type of rubber,” says Anna Bullus, managing director and designer at Gumdrop.
In order to collect the gum, Gumdrop travels around the streets of Amsterdam and scrapes up discarded gum, the company told The Verge. Every 2.2 pounds of gum can be integrated into the soles of four pairs of sneakers, according to Gumdrop. And since a whopping 3.3 million pounds of gum is dropped onto Amsterdam’s streets each year, there’s plenty to go around.
The creators want to expand the project to other major cities, and they want to introduce an easier and more sustainable way for people to get rid of their chewing gum. Shoes are expected to go on sale in June and retail at around $320 NZ.