Product Junkie once saw a TV programme about the problem of chewing gum deposits on pavements. I know what you're thinking but there was nothing else on, okay?
Around that time the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) put forward proposals to tackle this issue, one of which was that manufacturers should develop a biodegradable gum. And guess what? Someone has.
Once disposed of, its all-natural components will become dust within weeks unlike mass-produced chewing gums based on artificial, petrol-based polymers which, literally, stick around for eternity unless cleaned up by the Local Authority using specialist equipment at considerable cost.
But the benefits don't end there. It also allows the producers to improve their standard of living whilst actively managing the well-being of the forests, in fact they created it for the purpose of securing a sustainable future for themselves.
Chicza is based on the natural, organic gum called 'chicle', extracted from the giant Chicozapote trees in the Mayan rainforests. There are 56 cooperatives made up of around 2,000 'chicleros', the workers who extract the gum, operating in an area of 1.3 million hectares of rainforest.
They form the Consorcio Chiclero, the coordinating body responsible for the production, the logistics, the trade and the finances for the manufacture of 'chicle'. Because the 'chicleros' both make and sell the chewing gum, the 'value added' is much greater, giving each farmer an income six times higher than he would earn as a mere provider of raw material.
Distribution in the UK is through Peros, known for its range of fair and ethically traded beverages and snacks. Chicza is available in three flavours - mint, spearmint and lime - and comes in boxes of 10 x 12 individual packets.