While ubiquitous on city streets, discarded chewing gum is a form of plastic pollution that’s rarely a topic of discussion. To help spotlight this issue, two design students have come up with the idea of turning this street waste into skateboard wheels.
The brainchild of Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer, the idea came about as part of a brainstorming session for a designed-focused way to tackle the silent problem of gum pollution in urban areas.
“We thought, why not take this characteristic waste of the city and use it to make it greener,” said the students. “The bold colors and texture of chewing gum is the perfect fit for use in skate wheels.”
As part of the project, the students envision a partnership with Mentos, one of Europe’s largest makers of chewing gum, and Vans Europe, a popular manufacturer of skateboarding shoes and accessories.
According to the two designers, Mentos would install “gum boards” in urban areas to help spread the word and inspire passersby to stick their used gum to the signs, instead of discarding it elsewhere. The collected waste would then be cleaned, molded with a stabilizing agent, and stained with natural dye to create a line of vibrant skateboard wheels that would be sold by Vans.
“Our initiative is supposed to clean the streets in a sustainable way. That is why we invented a system that will transform used wheels and turn them into new ones,” explained the students. “No more waste is created and the material stays in use.”