By gum .....or perhaps not by gum !

The 2012 Donegal County Council Gum Litter Awareness campaign was launched in Letterkenny last Friday by Donegal Mayor, Clr Noel McBride and Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Mayor of Letterkenny. Run by the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) in association with local authorities throughout Ireland, the National Gum Litter Awareness campaign aims to reduce littered gum in the most sustainable way; by changing irresponsible disposal behaviour – the root cause of the issue – by encouraging the public to dispose of their gum responsibly.

The 2012 Donegal County Council Gum Litter Awareness campaign was launched in Letterkenny last Friday by Donegal Mayor, Clr Noel McBride and Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Mayor of Letterkenny. Run by the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) in association with local authorities throughout Ireland, the National Gum Litter Awareness campaign aims to reduce littered gum in the most sustainable way; by changing irresponsible disposal behaviour – the root cause of the issue – by encouraging the public to dispose of their gum responsibly.

The GLT includes representatives of the chewing gum industry; Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government; Food and Drink Industry Ireland; local authority representatives and civic society.

Speaking at the launch, Suzanne Tinney, Waste Awareness Officer said: “The key to tackling the gum litter and all forms of litter is education. This approach to education builds awareness and influences behaviour in order to deal with the problem at source and stop people from disposing of gum irresponsibly. The campaign has delivered very impressive results in the past in terms of reductions in gum litter levels and I hope to see similar success in our town/county/city this year”.

The theme of the 2012 campaign is “Bin it your way” and it features a series of professionally choreographed and highly innovative dance moves which communicate the responsible disposal of litter in an engaging way. There is also a strong interactive element to the campaign with members of the public being encouraged to go online at Facebook.com and search “Bin it your way”, view the dance moves and record and upload some of their own.

The campaign will also include:

• A schools education programme aimed at first year secondary school students called “Bin It!” This includes an actor-led workshop tour which take place in schools each autumn and tools and materials for teachers to download and integrate into lesson plans. A mass media advertising campaign (outdoor, print, online and radio) which runs for approximately three months.

• Distribution of point of sale materials to over 1,000 retailers around the country.

• Litter monitoring by local authorities to see how much littered gum is reduced on the streets as a result of the campaign.

• Sponsorship of five categories in the Tidy Towns awards.

“This is the first year of a new three year progamme of activity by the GLT. This year’s campaign takes an innovative approach cutting across all media platforms and channels and is aimed at building on the success of previous campaigns. The campaign is focused on educating the minority of consumers who dispose of their used chewing gum irresponsibly, that used chewing gum is classed as litter and irresponsible disposal can incur a litter fine of €150. We want to change consumer behaviour with regard to the disposal of gum rather than implementing short-term solutions that do not address the underlying problem of irresponsible disposal.” said GLT Chairman, Paul Kelly