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Chewing gum is usually a polymer that you mix with flavorings – which is something most consumers have no clue about. In a survey in Iceland, 85% of people said they didn’t know the product contained plastic. While there are non-plastic options more recently available, the gum base is usually natural latex or a synthetic substitute. To decrease the impacts on the environment, some producers are shifting towards more environmental-friendly options.

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With plastic or not - choosing chewing gum equipment

The general ingredients for making chewing gum include a gum base that contains resin, wax, and elastomers. To give it a sweet flavor, you need to add sweeteners such as maltitol, glucose, and even beetroot juice.

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose are also an option if you are looking for sugarless alternatives. They contain fewer or no calories – but, on the other hand, they can increase the risk of diabetes when overeaten. Softeners such as glycerin and vegetable oil ensure that the gum retains its moisture and flexibility.

To create a chewing gum manufacturing system, use a steam cooker, which sterilizes and melts the gum base. After that, an extruder helps to blend, smooth and form the gum shape. Cutting into smaller pallets and coating with candy are the last production steps.

What is the chewing gum impact on the environment?

Chewing gums are only behind cigarettes in the list of most common street trash. While some governments and initiatives are able to clean part of it, other parts add up to the pile of plastic that ends up in the seas. The last remains. The polymers or synthetic plastics that compose chewing gums are not biodegradable.

More conscious customers already look for alternatives in order to decrease their consumption impact, as it can take hundreds of years before a piece of gum starts to decompose. In this sense, apart from the healthier gum options, plant-based, plastic-free chewing gum is also a thing.

Same methods, new ingredients: plastic versus non-plastic gums

While the manufacturing method for non-plastic gums is the same as for plastic ones, the source of ingredients differs. You produce biodegradable gums using tree sap, such as chicle. Other items you use to substitute the plastic and artificial ones are raw sugar, for instance, as well as real fruits, to give taste. This way you avoid regular and plastic production while providing an alternative whose base is chewable and chemical-free.

Processing steps involved in chewing-gum making

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