All food decomposes like any other living organism through the growth of bacteria and fungi. As food decomposes, it is reverted back into organic soil nutrients to allow the cycle of growth, decomposition, and nutrient replenishment to continue. All this would lead you to believe that throwing a banana peel out of the window of your car would then not be considered littering because “it will decompose and replenish the earth back with required nutrients” or maybe even feed a hungry squirrel or raccoon. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Littering food waste is still littering, here is why:
To begin, all food decomposes at differing rates. No food decomposes overnight or instantly, which is the majority of the problem. The process of decomposition takes time through the growth and formation of bacteria, which in some cases, could take years to become soil. The average apple core takes approximately 2 months to biodegrade and a banana peel takes over 2 years. Obviously compared to plastic products, which take nearly 200 years to biodegrade, the problem of littering food is almost a non-issue. But that doesn’t mean it is morally correct to do so. If your banana peel is sitting on the ground for over 2 years, it is not good for the environment. One should also consider that most of the fruit peelings that may be littered likely have a plastic sticker on them. Therefore one is not only littering peelings, but also littering plastic, unintentionally. Yes, a sticker is very minor in the grand scheme of littering, but there is no reason or excuse for it.
Additionally, regardless of the fact that it isn’t great for the environment, it isn’t great for humans or animals either. One may think that littering a half eaten apple will help a hungry squirrel or raccoon, and it will – but to a fault. Over time, these animals become reliant on human sourced food and then all of a sudden those animals become pests to you and your garbage (or organics, recycling, etc) bin, yikes! This can escalate quickly when those animals that are reliant on human sourced food are now bears and you are on a hike or in a tent. That may sound drastic, but that is the leading cause for human-bear interactions.
Food and food waste littering is one of the most tolerated forms of littering. We see someone throwing a plastic water bottle on the ground; we inherently know it is wrong. But for some reason, we see someone throwing an orange peel on the ground, our initial thoughts are “it can’t be that bad – it will decompose or be eaten.” We need to alter our way of thinking in regards to food littering because of the reasons that are listed above.
The best way to dispose of your food, or food waste, is through an organics program. Put the peel in your pocket until you get home, or wrap your apple core in tissue and put it in your purse. There are simple ways to get around not throwing your food on the ground – just hold onto it until you find a garbage bin, or better yet, an organics bin. Professionals, like us, know how to properly handle food waste so that it decomposes at quicker rates then it would in the natural environment, while also being able to capture methane gas for energy and create a high nutrient soil. Contact Davidson Environmental with any food waste questions or concerns, we are here to help!
ABOUT US: Established in 1996, Davidson Environmental is a waste haulage company based out of St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1996, James Davidson, Owner & CEO of Davidson Environmental, decided to explore an area of waste management that would be new to the Niagara Region- recycling organic materials through composting. Starting with a trailer and 12 totes at a flower shop, James has built a company that today employs over 30 Niagara region residents and runs 24 hours a day. Although we are a diverse company serving all the waste needs of businesses of varying sizes, we have kept our primary focus on food waste organics. Our service area encompasses the Regions of Niagara, Hamilton, Haldimand, Halton, Oxford, Brant, Norfolk, Waterloo, Wellington, Perth, Huron, Grey, Middlesex, Lambton, Chatem-Kent, and Essex. We are also able to service Toronto by using cooperative services with another organics company. We have 10 trucks, capable of servicing any waste disposal need your business may have. Today, Davidson Environmental is proud to offer a variety of cost-effective, clean, simple and environmentally responsible methods of disposing of the waste produced by your business in Southern and South Western Ontario.