Braintree District Council’s new Gladiator machine is tackling chewing gum littering in town centres

Cllr Tom Cunningham with gladiator gum machine and campaign bin your gum in town centre

Braintree District Council has added a new gum busting machine called the MaxVac Gladiator MV700 to its street-cleansing equipment.

The new addition will enhance the council’s current street and power washing regime to remove chewing gum more effectively from pavements, thanks to receiving a £25,000 grant from the Chewing Gum Taskforce, managed by charity Keep Britain Tidy.

The Gladiator was developed in Switzerland and was purpose-built to remove all traces of gum using a combination of brushes, steam and a non-toxic vegetable-based water additive.

Over the next few months, the Gladiator will start by tackling high footfall areas in the town centres of Braintree, Halstead and Witham and then move into other areas in the district. Campaign posters are being displayed on litter bins and lamp posts to remind people that it is not just pedestrians that are at risk of stepping in used gum, but it is also harmful to pets and wildlife, so gum should be binned responsibly.

Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Transformation, the Environment and Customer Services and Deputy Leader at Braintree District Council, said: “In recent years we have invested significantly in redevelopment including the pedestrianisation of Braintree Town Centre. When people visit, whether it is to shop, work or meet up with friends and family, we want them to experience a welcoming and attractive town centre.

“Chewing gum is litter highly visible and is both difficult and expensive to clean up, so this new highly specialised Gladiator machine will help improve the removal of chewing gum and will also complement our existing street cleansing equipment, whilst improving efficiency and overall cleanliness standards. However, the best solution to this problem is for people to bin their gum.”

Published: 2nd November 2023