Start-up of the week: Hackney dad’s Gumipod invention ‘could solve problem of chewing gum litter’

Duval's Gumipod packaging

Duval's Gumipod packaging - Credit: Gumipod

The Gazette hunts high and low each week to bring you news of the most interesting new businesses in Hackney. This week, meet Duval Middleton, whose invention could be ‘the future of chewing gum’ – just don’t ask him about plastic.

Duval's Gumipod packaging

Duval's Gumipod packaging - Credit: Gumipod

The designer of a disposable gum pod with an “inbuilt bin” claims his product is “the future of chewing gum packaging”.

Duval Middleton hit on the idea for Gumipod seven years ago after seeing a cleaner attempt to remove a piece of gum from a urinal. As well as storing gum it has a compartment for disposal of the used product.

The government has threatened to tax gum companies because councils spend £60m a year cleaning it off pavements and streets. But Duval, a dad-of-two who works from an office in Paragon Road near Hackney Central, is “getting a good reception” in the confidential talks he’s been having with firms to introduce his packaging and preempt this.

His invention might solve gum blight, but what about contributing to plastic pollution?

“I can’t talk about the problem of plastic because last year it wasn’t a problem apart from the 5p bags,” said Duval. “Chewing gum has been a problem every for single year for the seven years I’ve been working on this. The gum problem is bigger than the plastic problem.

“Yes, the gum goes into plastic, but that gives the sense of security of not dropping it on the floor or someone sticking it under your desk. We are trying to eradicate that because it is disgusting behaviour.”

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Duval has entered Virgin Media Business’ pitching competition VOOM 2018 for start ups, and hopes to pitch his idea to entrepreneur Richard Branson should he get through to the final.