When people think about street waste, they imagine cigarette butts, paper, plastic bottles, or cans. In Amsterdam the second most common form of litter (after cigarettes) is gum, generating more than 3 million pounds all around. If you keep in mind that a bubble gum can take more than decade to degrade, you will get an image of the magnitude of the problem.
To find a use for all this garbage and turn it into a usable material, city marketing organization Iamsterdam, Explicit Wear, and Gumdrop have collaborated to design a shoe made out of the recycled gum.
Conventional gum is made from a synthetic rubber that when it’s broken down using a special process it can be turned into a new kind of rubber. The finished compound, called Gum-Tec, is made from 20 percent recycled chewing gum that will be used to form the shoe sole. The rest of the shoe is made of leather (so technically you have a 20% bubblegum shoe).
The Gumshoe is offered in two colors: bubblegum pink or a black version with red sole. Every four pairs of Gumshoes require about 2.2 pounds of gum for fabrication and the sole has a design of a map of the actual city to remind people where the material they’re walking on came from.
“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.” “By looking at waste differently we can find innovative solutions that will bring change to help keep our planet clean,”
– Anna Bullus, Managing Director and Designer at Gumdrop.
“We started looking for a way to make people aware of this problem,” said spokesperson Jonathan Van Loon. “That’s when the idea began to create a product people actually want from something no one cares about.”