Ex-city chief helps tackle a sticky problem
FORMER city council leader Mike Whitby has ploughed investment into a Black Country firm which manufactures machines capable of removing chewing gum.
Lord Whitby of Harborne, who was leader of Birmingham City Council for eight years until 2012, has invested an undisclosed, six-figure sum into Smethwickbased Eco Removal Systems.
He is now chairman of the firm which supplies its machines to venues such as Wembley Stadium, Chelsea and Liverpool football clubs and cities across Europe. The firm has grown to 11 staff.
Sales manager Paul Johnston said: “Chewing gum is a major bugbear worldwide.
“Up to 65 per cent of children chew gum every day and there are up to eight million bacteria in a piece of gum on the pavement.
“In Oxford Street in London, it has been reported that Westminster Council spends up to £1.5 million a year removing hundreds of thousands of pieces of chewing gum from their streets.
“We have got machines at Wembley Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Anfield. We have supplied Wimbledon for the tennis.
“We are also in shopping centres across the world, including in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the USA, South Africa, Chile and Saudi Arabia.
“We had two business partners here from Moscow recently purchasing our machines for shopping centres.”
Lord Whitby, who is also non-executive chairman of support group Made In The Midlands, added: “Eco Removal Systems is a superb template for Made In The Midlands and its goals and for manufacturers throughout the UK to encourage a crucial part of the UK economy to take up the export challenge and dramatically increase our volume of global exports, which is so vital to the well-being of UK plc.
“I am excited about this opportunity because I believe in Britain’s ability to manufacture and export globally.”
> Mike Whitby and the machine which removes chewing gum