Why I Spent $79 on Gum – My Zero-Waste Journey

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Today, my $79 piece of gum has finally arrived! It is a fancy chew, imported from Switzerland and the second main ingredient to xylitol are actual flakes of 23 carat gold. It’s created by the same people who invented the $1,000 ice cream Sunday made with gold. You can pick up your jaws off the floor now, because I am totally pulling your chain.

My $79 order of gum contains 1,000 pieces of regular, gold-free peppermint gum that is also available in spearmint, fresh fruit and cinnamon! These bulk packs of gum are available for 2 day shipping on Amazon and they cost even less when you you set up an auto-ship. Although I do chew more gum that the average person, I never go through more than four pieces a day. So why do I need so much gum?

Even though $79 for 1,000 pieces of gum happens to save some money, that is not my main motivation when making this purchase. I buy gum in bulk to minimize the single-use plastic waste that buying single 10-packs of gum creates.

I have been on a zero waste journey for almost two years now. While I am nowhere near to where I want to be, I do my best to minimize the amount of plastic packaging in my life. Gum has been a difficult one since I like to be chewing gum all day, every day. It makes me feel more confident about my breath and it minimizes my food cravings.

When I first started my zero-waste journey, I tried giving gum up because it is impossible to enjoy it without creating any waste. But after a few months I realized that it was too big of a sacrifice for me. I started researching bulk gum options online. That’s when I found this great deal of 1,000 pieces of gum for jus $79 and it all comes in one single ziplock bag. It’s not zero-waste but it’s as close as it gets!

Except it isn’t…

It turns out that gum is an environmental hazard on its own. The reason that cities spend millions of dollars cleaning up gum off the sidewalks is that gum doesn’t decompose. Gum is made with a “base of non-biodegradable materials (natural or synthetic latex, rubber or wax), discarded gum has become a sticky problem on city streets, sidewalks and in landfills.” – Healthfully.com

The UK alone spends over 600 million dollars on annual gum clean up. It has gotten so bad that some cities in the UK have tried to tax gum manufactures such as Wrigley to help pay for the cleanup. Luckily, not all gum is like this!

The best option that I have been able to find for gum that doesn’t come in plastic packaging and is made with all natural materials that decompose is Simply Gum.

I bought a 6-pack assortment for $15 for approximately 90 pieces which is a lot more than I would normally pay for gum but it is worth it because it doesn’t negatively impact the environment. It also tastes great and last longer than you’d expect from natural gum. So the only downside is the price!

Simply Gum also makes mints, that are significantly better priced than the gum at 270 pieces for $15These mints are vegan (Altoids are not) and they are made with healthy ingredients and are aspartame-free. So these are a great option for people who don’t mind replacing their gum needs with mints. While this doesn’t work for me, it’s a great option! 

If you’re a strict zero-waster, then another thing to consider is that the mints do come in aluminum containers. While these are a lot better than plastic waste, paper is easier to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way.

Going on a zero-waste journey is full of ups and downs, constant challenges and there’s a steep learning curve. It has also been very rewarding and I don’t plan on ever giving up on it completely. I still knowingly buy certain products that come in plastic and I still do too much online shopping. 

I always tell people this: it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Little changes in your choices can make a big impact. If everyone in the word said no to ONE plastic bag JUST ONCE, that saves 7.7 billion bags! Same goes for having just one meat free meal, deciding to take the bus or carpool, or making any other eco-friendly choice. Every little bit counts. So don’t give up just because you can’t always be perfect. That’s why it’s called a zero-waste journey, it’s not just about the destination!

The featured image for this post comes from the official Simply Gum website.



One comment

  1. Hopefully the expensive natural gum will become more main stream and cheaper… One day we will be able to grab a handrail in a subway station without a sticky surprise…

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