A CITY centre business has a solution to a sticky problem.
4Earth Solutions in Sunniside, Sunderland, has snapped up the rights to a formula which repels chewing gums from the city’s pavements.
Gum Stopper is a non-toxic, brush-on liquid which is painted on to areas where gum is discarded in unsightly dollops.
After the pavements have been scrubbed free of troublesome gum with the council’s new super-strength gum-busting machine, the chemical will stop more from being ground into flagstones.
Company director Paul Robson said cleaning up chewing gum costs UK councils more than £150million and Gumstopper could help them claw that cash back.
He said: “It can save councils millions. Sunderland are trialing it now and North Tyneside were trialing areas there in January and seven or eight months on they were still spotless.
“We’ve had a lot of international interest in the product. It is really unique in the market place.”
Mr Robson, a former business mentor from Whitley Bay, took over running of the city centre company six months ago – six months after it was founded – and business is booming.
“We increased sales by 800 per cent in the first quarter and this month we have done more in a month than the first quarter I was in charge,” he said.
4Earth Solutions also produces an eco-friendly anti-slip solution for floors, which has covered surfaces from six to 57,000 square metres across the world, including the North East’s Northumbria University.
As well as offices in Tavistock Place, the firm also has international links, with a base in Saudi Arabia, a distributor in Dublin, an agent in Istanbul, Turkey, and sub-contractors around the UK
4Earth Solutions currently employs four full-time staff, with plans to expand and create new jobs over the next 12 months.
Chewing gum is highly resistance to chemical treatments and does not easily degrade.
The council’s new Gumpak machines, which cost £4,000, use a special solution which requires less water and are less abrasive than other cleaning methods, blasting away the gum in a matter of seconds.