Chewing gum has been around for thousands of years in the form of chicle. This was a resin from sapodilla trees in southern Mexico and Central America. The Mayans cooked and dried it to chew in order to quench thirst and starve off hunger. Our gum today mimics the chicle the Mayans used to chew.
A USA inventor then got his hands on it and started manufacturing it there. When it began to be manufactured in the United States they started to use synthetic gums as it was said to make for better chewing and was cheaper to produce. The plastic in gum gives it more chewiness.
Problems for the environment
Because of these plastic polymers chewing gum takes thousands of years to decompose, completely the opposite to the chicle from the Mayans that would decompose in 2 weeks.
The problem also doesn't only lie in the properties of chewing gum. It is also the disposal. Gum is the second highest form of litter after cigarette butts. An estimated 92% of Britains urban sidewalks have chewing gum stuck to them.🤯