Oldham Youth Council stick to their gums with new recycling bins

An innovative solution to chomp down on the sticky scourge of chewing gum on our streets has arrived in Oldham – thanks to local youth councillors.

Our Borough is to become one of the few locations in the North of England to introduce dedicated chewing gum bins.

Oldham Council, which is the first Local Authority in the country to recognise its Youth Council with full constitutional rights, has supported the young members in obtaining these Gumdrop bins.

Last year, Oldham Youth Council proposed the sustainable solution to tackle chewing gum litter to Full Council and gathered unanimous support from all parties.

Three town centre sites have agreed to use the eye-catching recycling bins – Oldham Council’s Civic Centre, Oldham Sixth Form College and The Spindles Shopping Centre.

These bubblegum pink-coloured receptacles – which give gum a second life – will tackle chewing gum removal expenditure and also shows the Council’s commitment to helping the environment.

The gum that’s disposed in these bins will be recycled back into more Gumdrop bins.

Current estimates of consumption of gum in the UK are around 7.5 billion pieces per year – with approximately 3.5 billion pieces disposed of irresponsibly.

Around £150 million each year is spent around the UK cleaning gum of our streets – that’s an average of 30p per piece of gum.

Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, said: “Chewing gum waste littered on our streets is an eyesore and it is very costly to remove.

“This solution by our young people is an historic one as it is the first scheme officially approved by any local authority for its youth council.

“I’m proud that Oldham has become the first Council in the country to officially recognise the Youth Council as part of our constitution and this is a clear example of the Council listening to young people and taking action.

“This is a great idea from innovative youngsters who are working extremely hard on improving our streets and the Borough’s environment.

“I hope this will prompt people to think before they drop and help us to continue working cooperatively towards a cleaner and greener Borough.”

All Full Council meetings historically now have a dedicated 20-minute section where the Youth Council can make presentations or pose resolutions and motions on issues that are important to young people.

The Youth Mayor role has also been recognised within the Constitution and supported by the Mayoral team. Members are also involved in influencing budgets and commissioning of Children and Young People’s services.

Emma O’Donnell, Oldham’s Youth Mayor, said: “The constitutional rights has given the Youth Council the opportunity to really serve the young people of Oldham and puts us at the forefront of local democracy.

“The idea of introducing Gumdrop bins not only saves on the cost of cleaning up chewing gum, it improves the town centre’s cleanliness and reduces the growing strain on the environment.”

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Gumdrop bin installed at Civic Centre