Simple swap: chewing gum

There was a time, many years ago, when I’d chew gum all the time. The funny thing about chewing gum is, in my experience, it’s a bit addictive, and you feel like you always need it. Just me? In any case, I’ve broken that habit a long time ago, thank goodness, because gum is basically plastic wrapped in plastic. It’s also a huge source of litter that will basically never biodegrade.

So if you’re a gum-chewer, what can you do? Read on to learn more!

Conventional gum

Most gum contains plastic, in the ingredient “gum base.” The term “gum base” may seem benign, and gum companies don’t publicize its components, but this ingredient typically contains polyvinyl acetate. There has been some controversy surrounding this ingredient’s safety.

Plastic is, of course, not biodegradable and typically comes from fossil fuels. Chewing gum litters city streets and will outlive all of us. Definitely not something I want to chew on!

Plastic-free gum

There are a few companies that make plastic-free gum, in plastic-free packaging. The base typically contains the tree sap chicle. It doesn’t hold up well for long, since it’s all-natural, so the experience is, admittedly, different than the gum that we’re used to. But it’s a good option if you love chewing gum!


Mints can sometimes be found in the bulk sections of stores, or at refill stores. There are some mints available in tins, but they typically have plastic seals.

Other ways to fresh your breath

  • Brush your teeth before you head out
  • DIY mouthwash
  • Eat an apple or drink some peppermint tea
  • Clean your tongue, such as by using a tongue scraper 


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