High profile solution for a sticky situation

Article image - High profile solution for a sticky situation Brisbane City Council uses the Gum Removal Vehicle to quickly and safely remove chewing gum from pavement in its CBD.

With over 370 million packs of gum chewed by 10 million Australians every year, chewing gum pollution has become an unsightly epidemic throughout Australia.

Brisbane City Council has found a highly innovative, environmentally friendly solution to combat this – the Gum Removal Vehicle.

Born from a concept fermented by Brisbane City Council, together with the knowhow of Steam Australia Qld Pty Ltd, the Gum Removal Vehicle uses a combination of 170 degrees celsius steam, detergent and a vacuum to dissolve and suck up chewing gum in just three to five seconds.

Built in Brisbane and patented by Brisbane City Council, the rare vehicle comprises a generator and steam machine on a modified golf buggy.

It is all electric and can work for up to a week without recharge.

The steam equipment is currently run by a silenced generator and uses less than three litres of water per hour.

In comparison, the standard practice of high pressure washing can use up to 25 litres of water per minute.

High pressure washing also tends to move the gum onto the road or down storm drains, so a huge amount is lying in creeks and rivers.

High pressure washing can also damage some surfaces and leave very rough textures, which can be dangerous.

Managing Director of Gum Removal Vehicle, Richard Purkiss, said the vehicle comes with a brand promise – to ‘educate and eradicate’.

“There is a need to take gum cleanup out of the graveyard shift and shine some light on the problem,” he said.

“lf we show the public what it is and show them the trouble it takes to clean it up, maybe we can change some habits.”

The unique look and shape of the Gum Removal Vehicle, combined with is high visibility LED moving message boards, is immediately eye catching. Everyone who sees it cannot help but watch what is going on and learn about the problem.

Gum Removal Vehicle Pty Ltd intends to market the vehicle to councils and facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Retailing at around $50,000, it has already attracted interest from the United Kingdom, where $400 million was spent cleaning up gum last year.

The United Kingdom and Ireland have been working on public private partnerships or Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). BIDs allow the cost of cleanups to be spread between retailers and businesses that benefit with immediate impact outside their premises. In this case, councils take a lead role in organising the spread of costs involved.

“We recognise that there will be times when a rental will be more appropriate for smaller councils, airports, universities and so forth, and we will be offering solutions that fit with what a client needs,” Richard Purkiss said.

“Of course, there is always the possibility of corporate sponsorships. Vehicle wraps can be a very attractive way to provide unique coverage for sponsors.

“Many businesses want to show their green credentials and this is a very high profile ‘doing not talking’ way to show that.”

For further information visit the Gum Removal Vehicle website at www.gumremovalvehicle.com.au