Mexico is considering forcing gum manufacturers to pay a 50% tax on top of the selling price of products to pay for clean-up costs on streets.
Mexico is the world’s second largest gum consumer with a market worth $420m led by Mondelez International and its Trident brand.
The Mexican levy has been proposed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the political party that will take power from the incumbent Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) regime in December.
In Wales , a gum tax proposed by a minority political party was recently rejected; however this tax may have legs.
‘Shameful and upsetting’
Juan Manuel Diez Francos, deputy of the PRI, recently told the Mexican legislature : “It’s shameful and upsetting to see so much chewing gum stuck to benches and streets [translated from Spanish].”
“We often see the majority of people sticking chewing gum where they like.”
He said that people who do not chew gum still saw it everywhere and a tax on production could go towards cleaning the streets.
“We don’t want to put the cost on the citizens,” he said.
A chewing gum tax is currently being sought in Northern Ireland by the Alliance Party. It comes seven years after its neighbor, Republic of Ireland, rejected a levy on gum.
Global gum leader Wrigley opposes gum taxes and favors awareness raising campaigns to combat littering.
Another solution to the problem is a gum that biodegrades.
Mexican company Consorcio Chiclero, produces a latex gum using extracts from rainforest chicozapote trees. It claims its Chicza Rainforest gum biodegrades in a matter of weeks.
UK firm Revolymer also produces a disintegrable gum with its Rev7 brand that it claims degrades between two to three months in drains and less than two years on pavements.
In Singapore, the authorities previously tried a different approach – ban chewing gum completely.
For 10 years from 1992, the import, sale and manufacture of chewing gum in Singapore were all punishable by a year in jail and a £3,300 ($4,800) fine. Rules have since been relaxed and chewing gums aiding dental health and oral hygiene can now be sold by pharmacists.