If you’ve ever accidentally blown a bubble that exploded all over your face, you know that outside the mouth, chewing gum is a sticky mess. Traditional gum repels water, which is why we can spend hours chomping like Veruca Salt. But this water-resistant characteristics makes it an environmental night once we’ve jettisoned it from between our teeth. Too often, gum is spat onto streets and sidewalks where rain and even professional pressure washers fail to remove it. The result is an urban landscape dotted with dirty little pucks of what was once Double Bubble.

A new development in the world of chewing gum may hold the key to cleaner streets. U.K.-based Revolymer decided to see if it could invent a gum that was pleasant to chew, but much easier to remove from its sticky landing spot. The minty-fresh result is called Rev7, and is formulated with a special compound that makes both removable and degradable.

Chewing Gum on a Wall
Image via Shutterstock

Instead of being just “hydrophobic” (loosely translated as “hating water”) or “hydrophilic” (water-loving, which would make chewing difficult), Rev7 contains a patented technology that permits it to be a little of both, something scientists call “amphiphilic.” As FastCo points out, this means the chemical makeup of the gum allows a little bit of water to penetrate its surface, acting like a lubricant that prevents the gum from sticking. As the gum dries, it curls up around the edges, allow it to be easily removed from surfaces and textiles.

Image via Rev7

You’re probably thinking, “OK, that’s kind of cool, but what does it have to do with being green?” Here’s the thing: many cities spend millions of dollars a year on washing, freezing, burning, and chemically treating sidewalks and streets just to remove old wads of gum. These treatments are disruptive, damaging to the surfaces, and bad for the environment. Not only does Rev7 make it easier for gum to be cleaned up, it also means gum left to itself will eventually dissolve into harmless minerals and other inert materials.

Rev7 is already on sale in the USA and Europe. Ask for it at your favorite convenience store, or shop here.

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