November 2014 Update: Unfortunately, Peppersmith has decided to start adding plastic to its gum base, so I can no longer recommend it. Fortunately, there’s Simply Gum, which is still completely plastic-free. Please disregard the rest of this post. I have removed all of the links to Peppersmith except for their explanation of the change, if you want to read about it and respond.
Here’s what I originally wrote in May 2012:
Most chewing gum is made from plastic. Don’t believe me? Read the details in my 2010 post “Chewing on Plastic? Yum.” Even “natural” chewing gums like Glee, which is made with natural chicle, also contain plastic. And the few brands that seem not to contain plastic often come packaged in a plastic bottle or plastic blister pack. Thankfully, I’m not much of a gum chewer. But I know plenty of people who are (including the love of my life), so I was super excited to learn about Peppersmith plastic-free natural chewing gum via MyPlasticFreeLife.com reader Dora who was equally excited to tell me about it.
Peppersmith Gum and Mints
Peppersmith makes both chewing gum and breath mints that come in a cardboard box without any plastic packaging. In fact, Dan Shrimpton from Peppersmith wrote to me that the packaging is made from 100% Forest Stewardship Certified cardboard and is 100% recyclable.
The chewing gum ingredients are all natural and do not contain plastic or other synthetic chemicals: Xylitol (a natural sweetener from beech trees), chicle gum base (sap from the Sapodilla tree), calcium carbonate (mineral extracted from limestone rock to make the gum softer), gum arabic (from the acacia tree), lemon oil, peppermint oil, rapeseed lecithin (from GMO-free European rapeseed instead of soy), carnauba wax (from the leaves of the Brazilian Wax Palm), vegetable glycerol. All ingredients are suitable for vegans.
And even though Peppersmith gum is made from all natural ingredients, the company is still concerned about preventing chewing gum litter. So they even include some little papers with each box for wrapping up chewed gum for proper disposal. Each little paper has an interesting fact or cute saying.
Sounds Awesome! Where Can I Get It?
Not so fast. There is one catch: Right now, the only stores that carry it are in the United Kingdom. So for my U.K. readers, hurray for you guys! For those of us on the other side of the pond, our only option is to order online from Peppersmith and pay for International shipping. That’s a pretty heavy footprint for a pack of gum, no? Do we have any North American entrepreneurs interested in distributing Peppersmith products in the U.S.? Why not contact the company!
Compared to other brands
While I don’t chew much gum, I’d love to see Peppersmith alongside the other “natural” brands at my local Whole Foods. Other chewing gum brands touted as natural are:
Glee Gum — which comes in a cardboard box but does contain plastic in the gum itself.
Spry Gum — which comes in a plastic bottle or a plastic blister pack.
Xylichew — which comes in a plastic bottle or a plastic blister pack.
Peelu — which contains synthetic chemicals. According to account specialist Phillip Ellingson, the gum base “is very similar to any gum base you would find in any gum. There are plasticizers and elasticizers, which give the gum the chewy consistency, but you do not swallow those ingredients. The gum base specifically for our gums is not all natural, but the ingredients you ingest are. The Peelu dental gum is latex and petroleum free.” [05/21/2012 Update: In a follow up email, Phillip confirms that the gum base does contain polyvinyl acetate.]
Chicza — is another natural gum which could be promising, however I have not seen it sold in stores in the U.S., and the website says it is only sold in the U.K. I have reached out to the company for more information and will be sure and report back whatever I discover. (Also, I’ll update this post if I hear back from them soon.)
Are there any brands I am missing here?
Want to Try Peppersmith Gum?
If you are a regular gum chewer in the United States, let me know and I’ll send you a box. I have three unopened packages to give away. If you are NOT a regular gum chewer, why not forward this post to someone who is? Help them get the plastic out of their mouths.