By gum, Caitlin’s done it! Greenshaw High School student designs anti-litter art installation

Greenshaw High School pupil Caitlin Robinson stands beside the gum art installation to encourage fellow pupils to put used chewing gum on her dot-to-dot drawing and not to drop it on the ground
A Year 8 Greenshaw High School student has seen her drawing brought to life with chewing gum as part of Sutton Council’s Clean Streets Sutton anti-litter campaign.

The art competition for Year 7 and 8 students to design a graphic for a gum installation called ‘Peppermint Pointillism’ saw 13-year-old Caitlin Robinson draw a pencil sketch of chewing gum stuck to the sole of a track shoe. Her sketch has been made into a chewing gum installation on a board that has been hung near the entrance to Greenshaw High School in Sutton.

Caitlin’s image is being revealed when students stick used chewing gum on crosses on the board, like dot-to-dot, and turn the used gum into an artwork.

The gum art competition and installation is one of a number of awareness-raising activities the council and its partner Hubbub, Britain’s leading behaviour change charity, have rolled out in the borough to encourage residents who drop gum and litter on the streets to bin it instead.

The chewing gum art installation reminds Greenshaw students about how horrible gum looks when it has been dropped on the street and encourages them to dispose of it properly. The Local Government Association estimates that the average price of clearing up each piece of used gum off the pavement is £1.50 – 50 times as much as the chewing gum costs to buy.

Caitlin said:

“I am very happy to have won this competition as I feel that gum litter is a very serious problem. Hopefully my board will help decrease it!”

Greenshaw students also took part in an awareness-raising day at the school, with the Clean Streets Sutton campaign promoted via an anti-litter assembly. During lunchtime students playing games such as Litter basketball, put litter to vote on issues, and exchanged playground litter for prizes such as recycled material stationery from the “Trash Converters”, actors dressed as refuse collectors.

Stephanie Carran, Eco-school Co-ordinator at Greenshaw High School, said:

“Greenshaw High School has been working with Clean Streets Sutton and Hubbub to improve the issue of littering in our school and local community. We were thrilled with the response from students in our recent campaign, with key stage three pupils participating in games, competitions, litter removal and litter highlighting activities.

“The Eco-council would like to thank all those who supported our campaign, and congratulate Caitlin in year eight as our gum board competition design winner. The board is on display outside the school gates and passers-by sticking gum to the marked crosses instead of dropping the litter will slowly reveal the image.”

9426858_origThe campaign, which is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, has reached more than 1,000 young people in four schools – Greenshaw High School, Sutton Grammar, Glenthorne High School and Wilson’s – through anti-litter assemblies that have educated and informed them.

Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“Clean Streets Sutton is about using the latest thinking about behaviour change to try to alter the habits of people who drop litter and help educate others about the benefits of living in a cleaner, safer and more-inviting environment.

“The anti-litter campaign will also help to save taxpayers money as the everyday costs of cleaning up chewing gum, cigarette butts, fly-tipping and litter really add up, so any savings can make a big difference.

“Clean Streets Sutton will help us work towards our ambitious One Planet Sutton goals to reduce waste and pollution, and create a more sustainable borough.”

One Planet Sutton is a vision for the borough where people lead happy, healthy lives with a fair share of the Earth’s resources. Sutton Council has committed to becoming a One Planet Borough by 2025.

The approach builds on Hubbub’s successful Neat Streets campaign last year that cut littering in Villiers Street, Westminster by 26 per cent. Hubbub is bringing that latest thinking, combined with observational research about the habits of people who drop litter in Sutton, to reduce the amount of litter dropped, which in turn will mean the council will save some of the money it costs to keep the streets clean.

Caption: Greenshaw High School pupil Caitlin Robinson stands beside the gum art installation to encourage fellow pupils to put used chewing gum on her dot-to-dot drawing and not to drop it on the ground.