General Question

St.George's avatar

Is it littering if I spit my gum out the window onto the freeway?

Asked by St.George (5855points) May 13th, 2008

I think no, and my rationalization is that gum just gets run over and becomes either part of the road or part of someone’s tire which can only help to reinforce it. Am I right?

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51 Answers

lefteh's avatar

Are you talking legal or moral?
In my opinion, morally, it is indeed littering. You’re disposing of your waste in the environment.
Legally, it’d depend on your jurisdiction. In mine, it sure is.

scamp's avatar

If it becomes a part of the bottom of my shoe, I think it is littering!

AstroChuck's avatar

Depends if it’s bubble gum or chewing gum.

bassist_king1's avatar

yea, and when I throw my garbage out the window, it gets run over too, and gets to be part of the road too. gum is garbage, its not biodegradable, and i would consider an old chewed up piece to be trash.

Dog's avatar

It is littering and also can end up on the car behind you if you are on the freeway.
Not cool.

Randy's avatar

Its trash, but hey, it gives the juvies and people with community service something to do, right. Hahaha.

sccrowell's avatar

IT’S DISGUSTING!! I find it extremely offensive especially when I have to scrape it off my car! Time consuming to say the least! In CALIFORNIA IT IS ILLEGAL TO THROW ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE’S WINDOW! If you throw anything on the ground with the sole purpose of leaving it there. It is considered littering therefore it IS ILLEGAL .

St.George's avatar

Yikes. Okay then. Consider me reformed.

sccrowell's avatar

I apologize for how that sounded or if I offended you, but not for what I said!

rking1487's avatar

Why not just put it in the wrapper it came in and wait until there is a trash can to dispose it?

psyla's avatar

If I were to dump a bag of topsoil out the window, would that be littering? After all, it is just dirt. If I were to park in the breakdown lane and dump topsoil onto the curbside soil, would that be littering? If a substance or item goes out a car’s window, does that make it garbage? If a rich rock star threw diamonds out the window, would the diamonds be considered garbage or litter? If a new car rolled harmlessly off a tractor trailer, would the car be considered to be litter?

wildflower's avatar

Would you like gum on the wheel of your car? I wouldn’t.

It is littering – aside from the environmental aspect, what about safety? What’ll happen to the car that gets hit by a flying, stray piece of gum? I’m guessing it’d be on the news….

TheHaight's avatar

I think its littering as well, but not as big of a deal as others are making it. There is worse then just a teeny piece of gum.

wildflower's avatar

Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore and Japan…...I guess those tiny pieces just got to be a little too much for them…

TheHaight's avatar

chewing gum? As in, your mouth? Not littering? Hmmm….
Well, about Japan I’m more interested because I’ve never heard of this

- any website to back up what you’re saying?

ebenezer's avatar

I don’t even spit anymore. Just wait till a government approved receptacle. By the way. Is using your windshield wiper fluid littering?

wildflower's avatar

I may have to take my statement about Japan back….can’t find a website and it could well fall under their littering laws.
As a side note, a friend of mine who recently moved from there has introduced me to the concept of portable ashtrays that they use over there…

As for Singapore, Wikipedia explains it.

wildflower's avatar

In fact, I completely withdraw my statement about Japan…..they seem rather fond of their chewing gum:

TheHaight's avatar

hhah, Thanks. Yeah, I started looking as
well and saw a lot on Singapore. I was just curious about Japan because I was planning on visiting Japan and some family there and thought it’d be interesting to know. I know Singapore has a lot of weird laws… But never heard of over the top ones from Japan.

TheHaight's avatar

they do? Yay! :) thanks for the article.

wildflower's avatar

No probs….and it is about gum, so we’re still on topic ;)

psyla's avatar

Gum is nasty vile stuff, I especially despise picking shreds of it off my shoes, but where do you draw the line between what is litter & what is not? Is it litter if I dump ice cubes out my car window while I am parked?

sccrowell's avatar

There is/are only two things you can throw out your car window. Those two being “Water. And feathers. Everything else you can get in trouble for.”

yannick's avatar

I hate it when people leave anything they know they should take (such as wrappers etc), so in my books spitting the gum out the window is littering. Besides, gum is probably the most annoying litter ever. Just stick it in some paper or in your ashtray, or keep chewing till you stop/pull over the car and can dispose of it!

psyla's avatar

Feathers are not litter, yet soil is litter? Feathers can clog a car’s radiator leading to overheating. Soil is a common natural substance found on the ground. Is this law valid only in California? I hope so. I’d rather drive on soil than see how long my car will last driving through a cloud of feathers.

Dog's avatar


Who would be plucking chickens while driving?

psyla's avatar

Plucking chicken feathers while driving is a way to save time on your commute home. By the time you’ve finished your commute home from work, your chicken is plucked & ready to cook. This is common in California, where it is legal to pluck chicken feathers while driving & to throw the feathers out the Driver’s Side Window. Just don’t talk on the cell phone while driving and plucking a chicken, as this is illegal.

sccrowell's avatar

Perhap, this was written for the Frickin’ Chicken truckers that drive our highways leaving their Floatin’ Fowl Foul Fleathers.

sccrowell's avatar

In response to your “if a car fell harmlessly off a tractor trailer, would that be consider litter?” Answer: Only if you leave it there!

gailcalled's avatar

And if you want to read the entrails and drive, that also is possible.

scamp's avatar

@wildflower that link was hilarious! but I don’t think I will run right out to buy some “man smell” any time soon! ha ha!!

psyla's avatar

gailcalled, reading chicken entrails while driving is legal in California, but throwing the bones & reading them is not. Only passengers may perform Santeria Rituals in a moving vehicle. And careful with those candles!

Knotmyday's avatar

One month later… the correct legalese is “live chicken feathers.” That is, feathers that blew off live chickens while they were being transported.

I agree that gum-litterers are vile. Perhaps caning should be an option in the U.S. as well.

sccrowell's avatar

Knotmyday, I believe I said that, didn’t I?

St.George's avatar

We’re not bad people we just have bad habits. From, which we’re reformed, I might add.

sweet_one's avatar

I would have to say, as an avid gum chewer, that spitting your gum is only littering if you do so on the sidewalk or asphalt. I spit my gum out on the grass if there is no trash can and I have no paper. This is why you should not walk on the grass b/c a lot of people spit there gum on the grass. You should not be walking in the street b/c cars belong on the street, not people. We have sidewalks; therefore, if you spit your gum on the sidewalk, you will step in it. I do not believe it is littering b/c gum is biodegradable; it doesn’t take long for it to do so either. In conclusion, for the “save the trees” type of people, walking on the grass is worst than gum; you may step in it. I hate those who spit their gum on the sidewalk.

gailcalled's avatar

@Sweet: I hate to burst your bubble, but chewing gum is not (I repeat, not biodegradable.)

Here’s one of many sites:

“Why doth the gum blot the sidewalk and stay on the school desk for all eternity? Because, alas, it is made in part from not only non-nutritive but also non-biodegradable substances.

Every commercial gum has a gum base.The base makes up a percentage of the gum; the remaining ingredients are flavor and sugar. Gum bases are the part that we chew and chew and chew long after the flavor is just a memory. They are grouped in categories: elastomers (including natural and synthetic rubbers), resins, plasticizers (such as waxes, vegetable oils, and glycerides), adjuvants (including calcium carbonate, talc, or other charging agents), and antioxidants. In other words, the gum is, at base, plastic or rubber or wax.

The bottom line: Don’t spit your gum out in the compost or on the sidewalk, and don’t stick it under the table; put it in the trash. Contrary to persistent urban legends, you can also swallow your gum. It’ll eventually pass right on through, undigested. Yum.”

sweet_one's avatar

@gailcalled well…okay i pulled that one out of nothing lol, but it’s better than ppl steppin in it…i will still spit it on the grass b4 the sidewalk tho…

gailcalled's avatar

@Sweet one: Fluther appreciates knowledge to back up answers. Guessing is silly and wastes everyone’s time here. Throw gum in trash or wrap it in paper and dispose of sensibly.

Here’s an eco-friendly solution. Make it into art.

sweet_one's avatar

@gailcalled…calm thyself…I just got done answering a question, “is there a such thing as a stupid question” and you want to say that Fluther appreciates that…seriously…eco- what…i agree to protect the earth for us to live and stuff to a certain extent…this stuff has been shoved down our throats since b4 i was born…I honestly thot it was…but now, thanks to you I kno….just take a deep breath…it will be okay….just a site…wow…I’m glad I answer the why I did b/c now I know what kind of ppl are answering these questions….btw…still spitting gum…on the grass….do you think cigarettes are worst than gum? (im learning from you, so teach away…im being serious)

gailcalled's avatar

I am always calm, as you will discover. If you want an opinion on cigarettes, then ask another question.

sweet_one's avatar

@gailcalled wow…the people on this site are amazing…lol

gailcalled's avatar

Most of them, indeed, are.

sweet_one's avatar

@ gailcalled there is always one that…“sticks” out, you know. I just read your profile thing…wow…you are probably that person…

gailcalled's avatar

Not really. There are many here. I have simply lived long enough to know a lot about some subjects, something about others, and the knowledge of what I know nothing about.

This site will educate you, amuse you, scold you, bore you, surprise you, exasperate you and leave you a fluther addict, I hope. Fill out your profile so we can learn something about you. And welcome, BTW.

XrayGirl's avatar

yes, it is littering

joetheplumber's avatar

yes it is illegal to throw any objects out the window of a moving vehicle. You are allowed to have feathers and water trickle out of the back of a truck however.

papagiorgio200's avatar

I read—many years ago—in a Popular Mechanics article, that gum is very helpful to asphalt and concrete roads. I usually throw the gum (since it is effectively rubber) in a main thoroughfare away from the crosswalk so as not to get it on peoples shoes. Where the gum is pressed into the roadway it becomes the stronger part of the road.

So while you may get a sizable ticket for it if a police officer catches you, ultimately it is good for the net strength and health of the roadway. As for the guy or gal who wants to drop some top-soil around random places, I have a lawn that could really use some top-soil… it will strengthen and support the ecosystem called “my lawn.”

St.George's avatar


Thank you ! That was my thinking exactly. I’m vindicated!!!

kaledia's avatar

Alright, I’m from the land of weird rules, Singapore. Yes, gum is banned here, littering will be fined plus Correction Work Order. So basically if you are caught chewing gum and littering, you get to contribute to the government with:

1) Fine of SGD$500 (Chewing gum)
2) Fine of another sum. which I’m not sure how much for littering
3) Correction Work Order. You get to sweep the streets in public for a day with a big letters of “CWO”.

My friend accidentally dropped a piece of tissue on the streets and she got fined. Dats how strict it is.

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