The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

July 16, 2015

Green Tree Plastic-Free AND Sugar-Free Chewing Gum

2016 Update:  Sadly, it looks like Green Tree Gum has gone out of business. This post remains active for archive purposes only.  I have removed links to the company’s website, as they no longer work.
I don’t chew gum, but Michael does, as did legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager (maybe he still does.)  But if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that most chewing gum (even “natural” Glee Gum) either contains plastic as an ingredient in the gum base or is packaged in plastic.

For a while, English company Peppersmith offered a plastic-free gum in plastic-free packaging.  Sadly, the company switched to a synthetic gum base last year, much to the dismay of many of its loyal customers, if the comments in this post are any indication.

Simply Gum came along with all natural gum in plastic-free packaging.  But many people are concerned that the sweetener used is cane sugar, which is bad for dental hygiene.

Now, Portland, Oregon company Green Tree Gum is offering an all natural, synthetic-free chewing gum in plastic-free cardboard packaging, and it’s sweetened with xylitol, which is good for teeth, rather than sugar.


Here are the ingredients, with explanations, from the company’s website:

Chicle Gum Base: A natural substance traditionally used in making chewing gum. It is collected from several species of Mesoamerican trees in the Manilkara genus.

The tapping of the gum is similar to the tapping of latex from the rubber tree: zig-zag gashes are made in the tree trunk and the dripping sap is collected in small bags. It is then boiled until it reaches the correct thickness.

Candelilla Wax: A wax derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, Euphorbia cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica, from the family Euphorbiaceae. It is yellowish-brown, hard, brittle, aromatic, and opaque to translucent.

Xylitol: A sugar alcohol roughly as sweet as sucrose with 33% fewer calories. Unlike other natural or synthetic sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health by reducing cavities to a third in regular use and helpful to remineralization.

Vegetable Glycerin: A simple sugar alcohol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations.

Lecithin Syrup: A yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in plant tissues.

Guar Gum: It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder.

Gum Arabic: Is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree; Senegalia (Acacia) senegal and Vachellia (Acacia) seyal. The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees.

Citric Acid: A natural preservative/conservative which occurs naturally in citrus fruits and is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks.

Natural Peppermint Flavor: A hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint.

Win a Pack of Gum

08/02/2015: The giveaway is over.  The random winner is Tara.  Congratulations!

To enter to win an unopened pack of Green Tree chewing gum (Don’t worry — I’m not giving away the one I already opened), leave a comment with either questions or suggestions about plastic-free treats.  Is there a particular candy that you would like to see plastic-free?  Have you discovered a plastic-free treat that satisfies your cravings without plastic?  Or have you given up sweet treats?  If so, what’s your secret?

I’ll choose a winner next week.






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6 years ago

Apparently this gum is no longer a thing. Website says out of stick and facebook page appears to have been taken down. Shame, it was my go-to gum after peppersmith changed to synthetics. I don’t think a plastic free and sweetened with xylitol gum is available from anyone anymore…

7 years ago

This is sooooo exciting!!!

7 years ago

Gum sounds great! My suggestion is not just for treats but the bags they are put in. Making plarn (plastic yarn) out of grocery bags can then be used to make water and dirt barrier sleeping mats. These can be used by homeless people, campers, in natural disasters. It uses what has already been made for a compassionate, ecological, and beneficial purpose.

Janna Kepley
7 years ago

I’d love to try the gum! Thanks for sharing. Isn’t Chiclets still actual gum too?

7 years ago

I would love this, my daughter ha had some dental problems an the dentist told us to have her chew xylitol gum after meals to help. We us it regularly an I am not here by th packaging as well. I didn’t know about this one a would love love give I a try.

Elizabeth Coates
7 years ago

I would love to try this.

7 years ago

I try to avoid as much sugar as is practical, I’d be thrilled to try this plastic free gum!

7 years ago

Thanks for letting us know about products like this! Is there any chocolate sold that is plastic free?

7 years ago
Reply to  Diana

You can buy chocolate from bulk bins. Lindsay also shared a tip, saying that she buys seconds from her local chocolate shop and brings her own container to hold them in.

Cheryl Joy
7 years ago

Hey Beth, Glee is now plastic free! Here is an email from them:

Hello Cheryl,

Thanks for contacting Glee Gum! The gum base used in all the Classic Glee Gum flavors, Peppermint, Bubblegum Flavor, Cinnamon, Spearmint, Tangerine, and Triple Berry, is made with an entirely natural gum base.

While the gum base in Glee has always contained chicle, it wasn’t possible for us to eliminate synthetic materials entirely from it. We simply couldn’t find a formula that would work in a large-scale production run. Now, we have! Our new gum base recipe is 100% natural, made predominantly of chicle with just three additional, natural ingredients: calcium carbonate, candelilla wax, and dehydrated citrus peels.

Hope this information aids you in your consideration of Glee Gum. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Thanks!

Yours in Glee,

6 years ago
Reply to  Beth Terry

I used to really like Glee Gum until they changed the ingredients.. it is now gritty and whatever they added now gives me headaches. So….. so long Glee.

7 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Joy

Green Tree still is the better option if you chew gum for dental health because it contains xylitol. The email pasted above says that only the classic flavors of Glee Gum have a plastic-free gum base. The sugar-free flavors that have xylitol don’t fall under the classic category.

Jilline Henderson
7 years ago

I have to chew gum because of a nerve/mouth issue. Hate having to buy the regular choices. Would love something not artificial…

Katie Taylor
7 years ago

I have been off refined sugar… as much as I can… for about a month. It seems to me once your past the initial shock of “depriving” yourself, the things that seemed so bland before aren’t so bland anymore… a little bit of sweet really goes a long way now:) I don’t hardly miss it….. mostly!

melissa fiori
7 years ago

Finally! A healthy gum without plastic! We are moving forward! :)

7 years ago

I like to buy a few candies from the bulk bin for my son while we are at Whole Foods. That’s a good way to only get a few and bring my own packaging so there is no waste stream.

I was just wondering about how gum is made and if it is plastic or not, so this post came at just the right time!

With thanks,

7 years ago

Our local chocolate company has a seconds sale several times a year. Of course, they provide plastic bags for filling, but I always bring my own paper bags so that I don’t have to bring home their plastic bags. Put it all in the freezer and go hit it when I need a fix!

7 years ago

Fantastic to see companies who care about not using plastic packaging! After starting on Plastic Free July, I see how much plastic is in our lives and I hope to become more aware to see what I can do to reduce plastic waste and use.

Becky L
7 years ago

I switched to Simply Gum, but worried about the effects of sugar on my teeth, as well as my kids’. We don’t chew gum a lot now, but it would be fun to try this one, although I need to do some more research on xylitol.

Kerith koontz
7 years ago

So stoked to have a choice!

7 years ago

I usually have my sweets in a jar, when I go to a bulk item store.

Julie Rowan-Zoch
7 years ago

Also, be aware xylitol is dangerous for dogs if ingested!

Julie Rowan-Zoch
7 years ago

I stopped chewing after I learned about the plastics on this site, but I’s nice to have an alternative if I want to get back into the habit. Really appreciate your efforts here!

Richard Detwiler
7 years ago

Thanks for the timely information! I’m preparing a unit about the history of chicle and chewing gum for my high school Spanish classes. If I can afford to order in quantity, I’ll give them to my students as part of the sensory experience for learning new vocabulary. I’m also using your book to prepare a unit on plastics. (I’m tired of the old standard language class topics and am redesigning all my lesson planning to teach about things that I’m interested in this year. So thanks for your help with chewing gum and plastic.)

Susan Armstrong
7 years ago

I would love to try this! I don’t chew gum much anymore because I always remember that I’m chewing on plastic! I have to agree with Helen. I wish they packaged seaweed snacks in some other type of wrapper.

7 years ago

Lovely! I’ll have to search out this gum, since I’m local to the Portland, OR, area. My daughter loves gum, and I’m been getting her Glee Gum, but this one looks like it has even fewer ingredients and I like the no plastic packaging.

7 years ago

I have a suggestion. As far as I am aware, the company Peppersmith ( also sells 100% natural gum. I’ve been using them for quite a while and I really like them. Until recently, they only came in cardboard, which made them very low waste. Now, the packs are wrapped in thin plastic, which I very much regret. I do recommend trying them, though, and if you do make sure to leave some feedback about the plastic, hopefully they change it back with enough customer demand!!

7 years ago
Reply to  Annika

Ahahah scrap that I hereby admit I only read the last half of the article!! Did they REALLY revert to artificial base!? I’m most annoyed now, actually. Especially since they style themselves with caring about their ingredients (as they told me in a mail). Looks like I will need to try alternatives now. Meh.

7 years ago

This sounds great, except I have problems with xylitol. Wish they would make one with stevia, so far so good with that.

7 years ago

I really hope my daughter will like this gum. We’ve had a hard time finding natural gum (and all in plastic containers); and, most didn’t have very long lasting flavor, a must for my teenager.

Julie Henig
7 years ago

Thanks for educating us about plastic in gum – I was so upset when I found out. But now I’ll try Green Tree!

7 years ago

I never really thought about gum being made from plastic! I would love to try this natural one.

Lara Jarrette (Retro ReDesign)
7 years ago

This sounds great! My 3 year olds candy is yogurt covered raisins that we get from the bulk bin. I don’t chew gum anymore, but my hubby does & this would be great for him :)

7 years ago

Wow, I am very glad that I read this! As a life-long gum-chewer, I made the switch to Glee gum a couple years ago, trying to avoid so many chemicals. It’s great to find out there is a better alternative that doesn’t contain synthetics in the base, thanks!

7 years ago

Ever since I learned about the actual ingredients in mass-market chewing gum I gave it up, and I’ve missed it. I prefer sweet “bubblegum” flavor, but mint will still be a treat. I wonder if any plastic-free brands have that “bubblegum” flavor?

7 years ago

I’m so excited to learn about this! I’ve been wanting to start chewing xylitol gum after meals but could never get past the idea of chewing plastic. My favorite treats are probably dried bing cherries or dried papaya from the bulk bin. Would love to find roasted seaweed snacks that don’t come in plastic though!

liz rieman
7 years ago

This is awesome. All packaging needs to be plastic free. All the gum one can find uses aspartame now it seems. Hurray Xylitol! Thanls for a thoughtful product which I hope to see more of.

7 years ago

I’d love this! For plastic free snacks, I always head to the bulk aisle of our local store. The yogurt pretzels are my favorite!!

7 years ago

Oh I am so excited about this, my son loves gum! I am interested in fruit snacks and the such, but I suppose the previous commenters already answered my question – just make your own or use dried fruit! I’m brand new to this plastic-free way of life, but we’ll get there!

7 years ago

We just ran out of Simply gum and was thinking about ordering more. I’d love to try this instead. As for plastic-free sweets we love, we buy dried fruit, fig bars, and energy chunks (what a name!) from the bulk bins, or make cookies from bulk bin ingredients. Also, I was thinking of you the other day, Beth, when I saw Honeymoon ice cream in canning jars in the freezer section at Farmer Joe’s. The price of it is pretty astronomical, though.

7 years ago

Product sounds interesting. Thanks for the info. Any reviews of the chew?

7 years ago
Reply to  Beth Terry

I like the green gum. It lasts pretty long in the mouth, though I haven’t tried putting it on the bedpost overnight. On the other hand, neither Chuck Yeager nor I is chewing Beeman’s anymore, since they haven’t made it for a few years now. (Maybe there are stashes of it somewhere, and though maybe gum, being made of plastic, takes a pretty long time to expire, I’m a little wary, and I imagine Chuck is, too, though he’s not afraid of much, especially in his 90’s.) But what is really cool about Yeager is not that he chewed Beeman’s or that he broke the sound barrier and pretty much every other record in the book, but that he named his planes in tribute to his wife!

Sofia Pavlova
7 years ago

My son is 8 and is fascinated with chewing gum. He is so into it and I am releieved that now there gum I could actually buy ( vs him getting it behind my back). Thank you, thank you. Where can I buy it in the San Francisco Bay Area? If we get it online, can it be sent with plastic free packaging?