Chewing gum: Unsustainable harvesting

Chewing gum: Unsustainable harvesting

By the mid-1930s, unsustainable harvesting methods used to increase yields killed almost a quarter of Mexico's sapodilla trees, and scientists predicted total forest depletion within four decades.

Chewing gum manufacturers turned to cheaper synthetic bases made from petroleum, wax and other substances.

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Modern-day chewing gum

Modern-day chewing gum was invented by Thomas Adams Sr., who got a supply of chicle. They first tried to vulcanize the chicle into some useful industrial substance but found a better idea of boiling and hand-rolling it into pieces of chewing gum.

They sold out their first batch at a local drugstore in hours, then decided to go into the manufacturing business. By the 1880s, Adams gum produced five tons of chewing gum daily.

Becoming rich from chewing gum

As a marketing gimmick, young soap salesman Wiliam Wrigley Jr.decided that his company would give free chewing gum to vendors who place large soap orders.

The gum was more popular than the soap, and he switched careers. By the time he died in 1932, Wrigley was one of the richest men in America.

Chewing gum: the Mayans and Aztecs

Chewing gum has been around for hundreds of years in the form of chicle, a resin obtained from the sapodilla tree in southern Mexico and Central America.

Long ago, the Mayans and the Aztecs knew that by cutting the bark, they could collect this resin and create a chewable substance from it. The Mayans cooked and dried it into "cha" to quench thirst and prevent hunger. The Aztecs used it as a breath freshener but viewed public gum chewing as unacceptable.

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Cinco de Mayo

... the Mexican holiday celebrated on May 5, is not the Mexican Independence Day, as most people tend to believe. Their actual independence day is celebrated on 16th September.

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for ‘Fifth of May’, and is a representation of Unity and Resistance for Mexico, when on 5th May 1862, an ill-equipped Mexican Army defeated France, one of the strongest armies of the time.

The real history of Cinco de Mayo, and how it's celebrated around the world

Ancient Mesopotamia

The ancient Mesopotamia civilization was the origin-place for many inventions including scriptures, wheels, and .. soap.

The first evidence of a soap-like substance was in 2800 BC, in Mesopotamia, inhabited by the Sumerians. The oldest soaps, made by using animal fats with wood ash and water, were used to wash wool, treating skin diseases, and also for ritualistic purposes by Sumerian priests.

The History Of Soap: From Ancient Mesopotamia To P&G

Plastics: A Primer
  • Plastics are so common now that we cannot imagine life without them.
  • The first use of plastics can be seen by the Olmecs in Mexico, playing a rubber ball in 1500 BCE.
  • Polymers, the main component of all plastics, are made of carbon by a process of replicating the extremely long molecule by reacting it to itself.

Natural polymers are also made of other components like rubber, silicone and even DNA.

A brief history of plastics, natural and synthetic

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