When I was in college, for some reason I got my hands on a 5-foot-long mockup of a stick of Wrigley's Spearmint Gum, which adorned my dorm room for many years (and now adorns my parents' basement!)

Steve holds large gum with roommate Tim (1995)

The item was a very accurate portrayal of a stick of gum, complete with removable wrapper and foil underneath. There even were "do not litter" markings on the back. I'm not exactly sure what this was originally designed for, but it looked pretty official.

I mention this because today Wrigley — based here in Chicago — announced that they are dropping the use of foil wrappers on most of their gum lines. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Wrigley cutting back on foil wrappers
April 22, 2010
Cheryl V. Jackson

Wrigley is scrapping the foil wrapping for its iconic brands.

After using foil for more than 100 years, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is dumping foil wrappers and replacing them with paper for its five key chewing-gum brands: Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, Wrigley's Spearmint, Winterfresh and Big Red.

The switch began with some of Wrigley's hip, envelope-style cardboard packs late last year and will move through all packaging this year, the company confirmed.

The paper wrappers cost about 13 percent less than foil, according to the Chicago company, which says the switch won't affect the freshness or the taste of the gum.

The move should save about 850 tons of aluminum, according to Wrigley — keeping the equivalent of 60 million cans a year out of landfills. But Wrigley will keep the silver foil wrappers on its Extra brand gum and the colored foil wrappers on its 5 brand.

Wrigley was one of the first gum makers to use foil wrappers, starting around 1900. But the stick gum is a throwback to bygone times. Today, most chewing gum comes in the form of tabs, pellets or cubes.

Sad to see this era pass… but at least I still have my oversized stick of gum to remember it by!