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Oxford City Centre streets cleaned of sticky stuff - let's keep them that way

ODS, on behalf of Oxford City Council, has removed chewing gum litter and deep cleaned over 6,000m2 of city centre streets this autumn.  

The work started in late August and, since then, ODS has removed the chewing gum litter, deep cleaned pavements and steam cleaned the inside and outside of litter bins, bus stops, benches and cycle furniture on Magdalen Street, Broad Street, Cornmarket Street, Carfax and Castle Street. 

The cleaning has been accompanied by a range of educational materials encouraging proper gum disposal.  

Chewing gum litter on Oxford’s historic streets is a constant source of complaints from residents, businesses, and tourists. The City Council’s targeted removal and educational materials aim to help build a feeling of pride in the city centre and keep the streets cleaner by encouraging people to dispose of chewing gum waste correctly.  

To ensure minimal disruption, ODS’ street cleaning team often started cleaning around 4.00am and would drop off from 9.00am when the footfall increased. They have also had to work around St Giles’ Fair and the Oxford Half Marathon. 

On average, it takes 30 minutes to cover just 15m2 clearing gum with a steam cleaner, followed by a mechanical sweeper to leave the streets in an acceptable state. A follow-up sweeper was then used to clean up any staining on the York stone slabs that had been left by the oils in the gum. ODS’ steam cleaner is on a converted 1973 electric milk float. No chemicals were used during removal. 

The city centre clean-up was made possible with £25,000 of grant funding from the Chewing Gum Task Force, administered by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. 


Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies, said: 

“It is great to see city centre streets looking so clean after ODS’ incredible efforts removing chewing gum litter, so a big thank you to them. 

“The team have put in a lot of hard work over the last few months, starting early, working flexibly around various large-scale events, and ensuring minimal disruption to businesses, residents, and visitors to get the streets sparkling.  

“I hope that the clean streets and new disposal information will encourage people to dispose of their gum correctly.”