The artists behind the creation of these skateboard wheels are Vivian Fischer and Hugo Maupetit. They spent their time collecting discarded chewing gums and turned them into recycled, colorful skateboard wheels.
The Journey Of Chewing Gums Into Skateboard Wheels
These two students from the designing school had set up collection boards in Nantes where people could stick their gum than to drop it on the floor.
These discarded gums were collected weekly along with the PMMA plastic board. PMMA is polymethyl methacrylate and was used to make these collection boards.
This chemical helped in the stabilization of the chewing gum while it was being melted and machined into skateboard wheels.
They required 10-30 chewing gums every wheel, during the test phases. It depended on the size of the gum and on the hardness of the wheel.
Chewing gums have existed for a long time and are made out of sap from different trees. The modern gum contains polyisobutylene, which is a synthetic rubber, that is also found in car tires.
It is said that 10% of the chewing gum is collected properly, the rest 90% requires a cleaning cost of £60 million a year.
Maupetit chose to give this plastic a second life by creating skateboard wheels. He chose the city of Nantes in his trial and is currently studying at the L’École de design Nantes Atlantique.
The chewing gum is mixed with binder and dyes before it is molded into skateboard wheels. The wheels come in 4 sizes and 3 different hardness levels.
Once the wheel is worn out, it can be used again to create a new wheel which forms a closed-loop system with the gum.
The project is on a small scale right now, but it is expected to work its magic when major brands will collaborate with them, including Vans and Perfetti Van Melle. Brands need to get involved in such issues as they are the ones causing industrial waste. They need to recycle the waste and create a virtuous circle where the losses are cut off and the waste is reutilized.