students develop a system to turn chewing gum into colorful skateboard wheels

CATEGORIES: SkateboardingChewing Gum
PUBLISHED: June 17, 2021

hugo maupetit and vivian fischer from l’école de design nantes atlantique — an international design school in france — have come up with a novel use for discarded chewing gum. for their 3rd year design project, the students created a circular system that collects gum from urban areas and repurposes it into colorful wheels for skateboards.

the project looks at the problem of plastic pollution, and in particular, discarded gum in urban areas. in response, maupetit and fischer developed a strategy to transform the gum into colorful skate wheels. their study imagines a speculative collaboration between mentos and VANS, the former being one of the biggest gum producers in europe and the latter being a well known skating brand.

the system works by installing a number of ‘gum boards’ around cities, which the students have already prototyped in their university city of nantes. instead of throwing gum on the sidewalk, people can stick it onto the board, and to encourage them to do so, maupetit and fischer devised a lottery concept where people can win discounts on the chewing gum wheels. the boards will be collected every week and then in a factory, all of the little pieces of gum will be crushed and combined before being turned into a small ball to be machined. finally, the wheels are machined and stamped with the slogan, ‘VANS x mentos’.

from the collected gum, the students propose to create three grades of wheel hardness: soft, medium, and hard. the chewing gum wheels would also be available in various sizes to suit different boards.

the initiative is envisioned to clean the streets in a sustainable way: ‘our system may have started in nantes, but it is designed to be used all over europe! through this collaboration we can clean the cities and make them better, greener, and more colorful for young people,’ say maupetit and fischer.