Chicle – the ancient ingredient that helps make Nuud plastic free.
If you didn’t already know, regular chewing gum is a single-use plastic! Yep, most gum brands quietly contain plastics hidden under the phrase 'gum base' within their ingredients. One of those plastics is Butadiene-styrene rubber, which is also used to make car tyres... [shudder]
At Nuud, we don't use a plastic gum base, instead we use a sustainably harvested tree sap called Chicle. It’s using this that makes our gum plastic free and biodegradable.
Here is a little bit about this sticky super-ingredient:
→ Sapodilla sap
Chicle is the sap of the Sapodilla tree – a.k.a. Manilkara zapota. Native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, our chicle comes from Sapodilla trees found in the Maya Forest in Mexico – the second largest rainforest in the continent after the Amazon.
→ Collected by Chicleros
The local people who harvest and collect chicle are called Chicleros. Similar to tapping Maple trees for syrup, Chicleros cut diagonal lines into the bark of the Sapodilla and let the sap drip into a bag at the base of the tree. The sap is then boiled, strained, shaped and sold to us as a key ingredient of our gum.
→ Chewed for millenia
Chewing chicle is not a new thing! The sap was first chewed on in ancient Maya to stave off hunger, freshen breath and keep teeth clean. In fact, before money-grabbing corporations put profit before people and the planet, chicle was actually the go-to ingredient used for chewing gum bases. However, by the mid-20th century gum companies starting switching from chicle to cheaper synthetic rubbers – from plants to plastics. We do it the way it was first done.
→ A sustainable cycle
As chicle naturally renews, and tapping Sapodillas is not destructive, this traditional process creates sustainable livelihoods that makes preserving the Maya Forest in the interest of locals. Communities have a reliable income, and guardianship is created as a by-product!
↓ Trying chewing with chicle!