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Is a Banana skin classed as litter?
Poll ended at Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:55 pm
Yes 78%  78%  [ 7 ]
No 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Depends (please state your case) 22%  22%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 9
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 Post subject: Are Banana skins litter?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Here's a question that crops up again and again when Tex and I have lunch on the hills...

Is a Banana skin classed as litter?

Feel free to backup your vote by hitting the "Post Reply" button and adding your thoughts to the body of the post.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:25 pm 
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Unfortunately per the Litter Act a banana skin is litter but in my view it depends where it is deposited as to whether it is in offence. We have probably all left banana skins, apple cores, bread crusts etc on the hills for the wildlife to eat but rarely I suspect have we left the same on the streets. All the Litter Act offences relate to depositingg 'litter' in or into a public place. You then have to define public places and it can then get complicated.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:20 pm 
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I'd say it depends where it is deposited - on top of a rocky area with nothing but the wind and rain to degrade it, it's rubbish. In an area of thick vegetation where it would get recycled quicker I'd say its ok. But really we should take our rubbish home in the wrapper we used to carry it. My vote is therefore a yes and no, so its void!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:53 am 
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Definitely litter. Banana skins take a long time to decay.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:12 pm 
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Like most people, I think it depends on where it is. I'd say as long as you tuck it away in some long grass or bushes where some appreciative bugs can nibble away on it, then it's ok to leave it where you eat it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:13 pm 
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gleavem wrote:
Like most people, I think it depends on where it is. I'd say as long as you tuck it away in some long grass or bushes where some appreciative bugs can nibble away on it, then it's ok to leave it where you eat it.


I know that seems tempting and on the face of it no real harm. But it's worth thinking of a couple of points.

First, it's only out of sight to us as people, to the local fauna it's pretty obvious so it's a bit like brushing something under the carpet. Introducing different food sources to some environments can have a dramatic impact, wildlife is displaced to the new food source and in delicate environments the balance is destroyed. For example, by encouraging scavengers like rats, crows, gulls etc. you're encouraging creatures that tend to also feed off the eggs and young of some local species thus wiping them out.

Second, even things that rot are a problem, for example, if it's an area where a particular rare flower flourishes if you leave something that rots into the soil you'll be enriching that soil and that turns out to be a bad thing as other plants can flourish particularly grasses which will shade out those rare plants and kill them.

There's not really any wiggle room on this, there's no good place to leave your litter and it's not really important how long it takes to decay.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:51 pm 
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Absolutely no doubt about it from my point of view - it's litter. Takes really ages to decompose and even it it is biodegradable when was the last time you saw a banana tree in this country.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Yep, banana peels are litter. I am of the mind, "take nothing away but memories or photos...and leave nothing behind". Besides, don't we all take the rest of our rubbish with us as we move on down the path?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:33 am 
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Funnily enough, as a postscript to my comment above, I was on top of a peak called Schesaplana the other day on the Austrian/Swiss border, it's a whisker under 3000m. Sat at the summit, chatting with some other people and filling the summit book in we were all amused to see a mouse running from rock to rock. Although it makes you smile, the mouse is a classic case of what I pointed out out above, it's been attracted into the environment by the opportunities for scavenging that our bio-waste has created.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:07 pm 
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Strangely enough, I was on top of Helvellyn today and this despicable character dropped something right in front of me...how very dare he!!

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Does anyone recognise this man??? :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:22 pm 
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Looks like someone who walks on his own!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:47 am 
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Yes I would definately say they are litter, and so are orange peels which I saw laying out in all their colorful glory on Dent Hill several years ago.
You may be able to hide peelings in the brush or leaves, but if everyone does it..........

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:54 pm 
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I'm surprised there's any discussion about this really. They take a long time to decompose and are a real eyesore on many mountaintops and popular viewpoints - almost as bad as orange peel!

I tend to feel a bit less strongly about apple cores - at least, as long as they're tossed into the undergrowth where they're going to get eaten/decompose before anyone else stumbles across them!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:23 pm 
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David Hanson wrote:
I'm surprised there's any discussion about this really. They take a long time to decompose and are a real eyesore on many mountaintops and popular viewpoints - almost as bad as orange peel!

I tend to feel a bit less strongly about apple cores - at least, as long as they're tossed into the undergrowth where they're going to get eaten/decompose before anyone else stumbles across them!


The discussion is probably worthwhile, there's still some confusion about this.

It's not important if it biodegrades or not, if it does biodegrade that's very bad, worse in fact than recognisable litter like a crisp packet. Mountains have delicate ecosystems, chucking compost on them is very bad.

Apple cores are bad, if they're eaten it's by scavengers who are encouraged into an environment they're not normally in thus destroying it. If they decompose they'll enrich the local soil and encourage colonisation plants like grasses which will choke out any existing flora.

We've been making this error about biodegradable rubbish for a long time so it'll take a long time to stop I think.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:14 pm 
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I don't think I'm quite so sure about the biodegradable arguments as you seem to be! In principle you may be right but, to me, it's the visual degradation caused by litter that is far more of a problem - although I suspect you'll disagree!

I don't remember noticing large patches of non-indigenous grasses or hordes of scavengers on mountain tops - but I have noticed horrendous quantities of cans, peel, banana skins, etc and worse on many occasions.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:24 pm 
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David Hanson wrote:
I don't think I'm quite so sure about the biodegradable arguments as you seem to be! In principle you may be right but, to me, it's the visual degradation caused by litter that is far more of a problem - although I suspect you'll disagree!

I don't remember noticing large patches of non-indigenous grasses or hordes of scavengers on mountain tops - but I have noticed horrendous quantities of cans, peel, banana skins, etc and worse on many occasions.


It's a fact I'm afraid rather than an opinion, it's something I didn't know until the last few years either. You'll see the countryside code is updated to have the same advice.

As for scavengers, you just need to keep your eyes open, as I commented above I've seen mice at 3000m living in cairns scavenging and I'm sure you must have seen gulls and the like.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:31 pm 
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I didn't actually dispute what you were saying - although one person's 'fact' is another person's 'opinion'! No, it's more that I just don't agree with the emphasis!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:25 pm 
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David Hanson wrote:
I didn't actually dispute what you were saying - although one person's 'fact' is another person's 'opinion'! No, it's more that I just don't agree with the emphasis!


I think that's a sign of our times with so much distorted information around we become accustomed to being selective about what we accept. But, there's as difference between healthy sceptism and just dismissing as opinion those facts we don't like.

Back to the plot though! When things biodegrade they release minerals , let me give an example or two. There's a plant called butterwort in our hills, it's an insectivore and has sticky leaves trapping insects and digesting them. The reason it does this is to survive in a niches where poor soils don't have the nutrients other plants need, it's Darwinism at work. It especially likes nitrogen lacking soils where other things won't grow. If you add matter that decomposes and adds nitrogen you're effectively killing it. Banana skins are another problem again, they release pottasium into the soil in excess amounts which will kill many plants.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:45 am 
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I can happily report that I saw very little litter on our entire C2C crossing, and certainly no banana skins! The main culprit seemed to be white tissues...who is the phantom tissue dropper?!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:17 pm 
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The answer is simple - just don't drop ANY litter!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:26 pm 
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Let me start by saying I think you should always take your banana skins home with you if at all possible. They are to say the least unsightly when you throw them down. However, I was surprised that Westcoasthiker suggested they take a 'long time' to decay so I set up a little experiment in my garden. In fact in less than six days they decay to a thin black skin which is barely noticeable. See http://daly.co.uk/banana for the photos.
Image

I wouod take issue with snowslider that it also affects the 'natural' environment. firstly we are part of that environment and secondly there is very litle 'natural' about it if by that he means 'untouched by the human species'. The moors exist only because of grazing by sheep, goats and deer introduced and framed by mankind. The idea that the nutrients released by a bananan skin are significant when compared to the nutrient input from sheep droppings or even pheasant and grouse droppings does not hold up. (and no to mention my own discharges when out walking!) The landscape we all live in (particularly in the British Isles) is the product of human beings and will continue being so. Our impact on the landscape in the past has been far greater (look at all the mine and quarry workings scattered throughout the countryside) than at present.

Of course there is an argument that says if we encourage mice then we will encourage birds of prey, such as eagles, that will feed on them. Snowsliders reasoning (not facts!) are to my mind very simplistic. He falls prey to his own prejudices by disseminating opinions as fact. The teasel is a plant that also thrives on poor soils and suplements it's 'diet' with insects yet it seems to be far more common now than 50 years ago colonising verges alongside well fertilised agriculture land!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:18 pm 
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John

What an excellent experiment - is it still running? I'd be interested to see how long it takes to break down completely. There doesn't seem to be much change from day 6 to day 11, but a huge difference in the first 5 days.

I won't comment on the impact of bananas on the countryside - I think that topic is getting hot enough already.

Needless to say - if I ever dropped a banana skin before - I won't be doing it again if I can avoid it. I've started carrying a small plastic bag to carry the skins home in. Previously I never wanted to put the skin back in my bag, so inevitably one or two ended up being discarded.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:09 pm 
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Yes, it has reached day 20 now and you can see the latest photos at http://www.daly.co.uk/banana. Part of it has now dropped down into the stones with only the stalk still visible.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:22 am 
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john wrote:
I wouod take issue with snowslider that it also affects the 'natural' environment. firstly we are part of that environment and secondly there is very litle 'natural' about it if by that he means 'untouched by the human species'. The moors exist only because of grazing by sheep, goats and deer introduced and framed by mankind. The idea that the nutrients released by a bananan skin are significant when compared to the nutrient input from sheep droppings or even pheasant and grouse droppings does not hold up. (and no to mention my own discharges when out walking!) The landscape we all live in (particularly in the British Isles) is the product of human beings and will continue being so. Our impact on the landscape in the past has been far greater (look at all the mine and quarry workings scattered throughout the countryside) than at present.


I didn't say anything of the sort if you read back. I'm well aware of the effect we've had over the last 5000 years though, and I have a problem accepting the idea that as we've already messed up the upland environment comprehensively that we may as well not bother.

Sheep on upland grazing are a good example, their effect is pronounced and it's one of the reasons that the subsidy system has been reformed is to avoid providing perverse incentives to over graze. It seems to me this already resulting in an improvement in environment in places.

Your point seems to be that a few banana skins won't matter, that may be true, how do you propose to manage that? People going up Snowdon checkin with the Park staff on the way up and get a permit to drop a banna skin that day and those permits are issued on a quota basis? :D In truth, what actually is people drop the same sort of rubbish in small area typically near a summit or form of shelter so the effect is concentrated.

You've got a problem in the UK, the upland landscape is already ruined compared to here (CH) and the level of rubbish (food and non-food) being dumped in the hills is huge compared to here. No summit cairn in Wales over the last few weeks seemed to lack apple cores, banana skins and assorted rubbish stuffed into gaps in the rocks. As an infrequent visitor to the UK mountains I'm appalled and I detect an attitude problem with UK hill users. I would also say this seems less pronounced in the remote areas of Scotland I visited a month or so back.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:54 am 
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snowslider wrote:

Your point seems to be that a few banana skins won't matter,


I actually said that you should NOT leave your banana skins on the the mountains because they are unsightly. I took issue with your argument for not doing so which was that they would have a noticeable effect on the mountain ecosystem. It seems to me that because they are unsightly is reason enough!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:11 am 
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This is one of my early posts on litter and would still consider it on my forth-coming Coast to Coast next year. http://www.forum.walkingplaces.co.uk/vi ... .php?t=379


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:49 pm 
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If you found one in your back garden would you get rid of the thing?

I think you would.


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 Post subject: Re: Are Banana skins litter?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:34 am 
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Great debate! Apparently they can take up to two years to fully decompose. I would have thought too that unless they are completely organic then the chemicals on the skin would harm the localised environment. However, interestingly enough it seems to suggest that an organic banana skin may have its advantages as it can be used to purify water.

Although as pointed out below, how useful that actually is remains to be seen. Maybe our wildlife will be drinking purer what because of it??


Last edited by WalkieTalkie on Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are Banana skins litter?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:03 am 
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Anyone who doesn't consider banana skins to be litter should visit at the summit of Pen-y-ghent. The last time I was there it was pretty well littered with banana skins in various stages of decomposition - very unpleasant!


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 Post subject: Re: Are Banana skins litter?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:41 am 
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Hi WalkieTalkie. Ref your link on teh banana skins debate.... Not sure there's generally much demand for water purification in the hills!


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