Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Eco Chewing Gum

Wanted to share this article in March 9th's Windsor Star. For all of you who enjoy chewing gum, you now have an eco alternative! Check out the Chicza Rainforest Gum and see how it comes from the earth and returns to the earth.

"Chicza is not only a top quality chewing gum, but also an outstanding example of sustainability, active conservation of rainforests and fair exchange between humans and nature."

This argument says that making Chicza preserves the rainforest by extracting a natural and sustainable substance that contributes to the nurturing of rainforest grounds and the economic opportunity for the people who have been living there and taking care of forests in Mexico for centuries. Chicle is obtained by boiling the sap of the trees into a thick paste. This process makes me think of Canada's own maple syrup industry! At first I suspiciously thought "what exactly does this mean for the rainforests?" in the wake of hearing about the soy farming/rainforest issue. However once I thought about it as compared to making maple syrup, I realized that it is a healthy thing because harvesting sap is not clearing forest land to make room for farming. Also that the people who are involved in this process are performing it witihin the rainforest that they have to take care of even if they didnt want to because their product depends on it's health. Like any commodity, there is a danger that its popularity could change or effect the method or quantity of production. Interestingly, this product is only recently being heard about on a global level and is not sold in many places outside of Mexico. I hear the first place otherwise that it is or will be available is in the U.K.

What happens to Chicza once you spit it out? In other words, why is it biodegradable? Well Sustainability Ninja.com explains that Chicza is an eco-friendly chewing gum because it contains no petrochemicals like synthetic chewing gum which is why it doesn't stick to things and why in about 6 weeks it will completely discintigrate. Keep an eye out for this product in the future because it is not currently being sold in Canada or the U.S.

Mayans Sell Natural Gum

"Street cleaners in Britain may spend less time scraping gobs of chewing gum from the pavement after indigenous farmers from Mexico launch their own brand of natural gum harvested by hand in the rainforest.

A co-operative of over 50 Mayan communities in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, where Sapodilla trees have been tapped for their sticky latex since before the Spanish conquest, will start selling biodegradable chewing gum in British stores this month.

Unlike common chewing gum made of synthetic rubber, which can take years to break down, the cooperative's "Chicza" brand is made from chicle, a natural substance that degrades quickly, Jesus Manuel Aldrete, the co-operative's director, told Reuters.

"Chewing gum made from synthetic polymers sticks easily to asphalt because both contain similar components," Aldrete said. "Chicle is organic."

Ancestors of the Mayans making the gum near the Cancun beach resort munched on chicle to help their digestion and clean their teeth, said Aldrete.

Modern manufacturers originally used chicle to make gum but eventually switched to cheaper polymer ingredients.

Japanese and Korean companies still demand the natural chicle -- extracted from the trees by crisscrossing cuts into their bark in a method similar to rubber harvesting -- but the Mayans say the market for their product has shrunk dramatically since synthetic gums were invented.

Chicza is producing its gum in red fruit, orange and cinnamon flavors, and plans to launch first in London and later in other European countries."


  1. Hi Nicole,

    This is very interesting - I had not heard of this type of gum. I posted about Zapp gum on my site because it is the only one I could find that did not have sugar or aspartame and I quite like it for that reason.

    I have added you to my blogroll, happy to discover your site!

  2. Thanks so much for reading and adding me! I enjoy your blog too =)