Recycled chewing gum!

At last, it looks like there is a reuse for chewing gum!

The disgusting product has been melted down and turned into an injection mouldable material. I had never seen recycled chewing gum until I was shown a ‘Gum Drop Bin‘ – a bright pink, hollow ball with a hole in it. It can be fixed to a fence or post and used to collect gum, then melted down to be reused.

Bin in use

Well done to Anna Bullus for coming up with the innovative new rubber material.

It does appear though that I may be late in discovering this product as after doing a quick bit of research, found a competitor. The ‘Chewing Gum Bin‘, once again a pink bin is available to purchase.

The things I found particularly interesting about the product were the colour – it is bubble gum coloured making it clearly stand out and the material – the injection moulding had a great finish and smelt slightly like bubble gum! It’s a very literal design though and I’m not sure what would make someone want to put their gum into the hole? It will take education to make people understand how and why to use the bin. (I’ve never actually seen one in use although people in San Francisco are blogging about it!)

I was shown it as part of a workshop to do with understanding behaviour change design. It is definitely a great example of encouraging people to dispose of their chewing gum correctly and a fantastic example of a closed loop system but I want to see one in action. As a group, we wondered if its USP was in schools; you could place them on playground fences and once people have begun to understand what the balls were, you could reduce the number of them so that eventually there is just one by each bin.

I hope that the material becomes more mainstream and other uses are found for it.

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Critical Mass – making a change

I came away from an interesting conversation today about service design feeling very inspired. I enjoy a conversation where two minds think a like and share similar values, especially when you work on different types of design for different types of clients. We discussed co-participation, the need for understanding research and how research methods are only useful if used correctly, how clients think they know what their employees/end users want or are doing and how a large problem can be solved very simply with some deep thinking.

It reminded me of the ‘word’ I chose to represent me at our MA degree show ‘Critical Mass’ (ok, it’s two words but I was let off). The more people that understand what ‘service design’ is and understand its value will mean we will live in a happier, more sustainable place. We are getting there….

“Critical Mass”

To create a sustainable lifestyle we need to change our behaviours. People follow trends, especially from their friends, celebrities and the media. If we can create mass behaviour change in the way we live, we can start to make a difference to the world around us. Defined as the minimum amount of something required to start or maintain a venture, critical mass is something I associate with cyclists coming together at the end of the month to make their mark on the streets. This is a great example of people showing solidarity, unity and common attitudes. If enough people who feel passionate about a subject, come together to make a change, the change is likely to happen!