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In North America, what is a more long-term sustainable alternative to bubblegum for freshening one's breath?


Suppose that x and y are elements of the set of all substances edible to men, women, and children above age six.

We can write down whether or not edible substance x is more sustainable than y or y is more sustainable than x, relatively speaking.

Take y to be bubble-gum manufactured using old and outmoded production process using ingredients derived from sugar cane and rubber.

What edible substance x is more sustainable, in the long-run, than y?


3 Answers 3

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I think the most important concern here is waste disposal.

If you use bubblegum but don't dispose of the waste properly, it becomes a problem. If the waste is disposed properly, the environmental impacts are so small that they can't be compared to real environmental problems like overuse of antibiotics, prevalence of waste medicine and microplastics in our oceans, massive overuse of fossil fuels, etc. A bubblegum is very lightweight: compare the mass in a bubblegum to the mass of a gallon of gasoline and see which one matters more.

If you yourself use bubblegum, you have the power to ensure waste is properly handled. If you are careless about waste handling, anything that doesn't produce any waste is better.

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Mint leaves. If your sole purpose is freshening your breath, then chewing some mint leaves will achieve this with no waste at all. You can grow some mint in a pot, and pick a few leaves whenever you like, chew them a while and then swallow them. There's no magical freshening ability in gum itself, only in the mint flavour that is added to it.

Mint leaves aren't super portable or easy to keep randomly in your pocket if you are away from home and suddenly worry about your breath. Carrying that mintiness in the form of candy probably means less waste than using gum, but still requires a factory, packaging, shipping etc which is less sustainable than growing a houseplant and picking some leaves. Perhaps you could develop a habit of grabbing a few leaves and chewing them as you leave the house, so the freshness will last while you're out.

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There is chewing gum made from tree sap, chicle, originating from Central America. This gum is biodegradable.

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