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22-07-2021 | Frank Jansen

Can you throw away banana peels?

Throwing your garbage on the road is, of course, absolutely not done, as everyone will agree. Unfortunately, you see it a lot during sportives and gran fondos. Now there is a large group of cyclists who say that even throwing a banana peel into the roadside is not allowed. The peel would take years to digest. Urban myth? Or reality? Let's dive in.

Different deadlines

If you start researching the subject, you quickly come across different time frames, ranging from 2 weeks to as much as 10 years. Everyone seems to be repeating each other in this, without checking whether it's actually correct. Fortunately, there are also people who just test it out for themselves. So does fellow cyclist Hans Philipsen. He shows on his website quite convincingly that it takes about 9 weeks. To be 100% sure, we check this story with biologist Henk Jansen of Buro Elodea, an ecological research company. He points out that although Hans's research is not scientific, the results are convincing.

Organic material

The question, of course, is whether the time frame matters at all. What matters is whether the waste is organic or has junk (poison) in it. In the jungle where bananas grow, they fall down in bunches only to rot away. Trees fall down and rot away, leaves fall off trees and rot away. Dead animals idem. Nobody cares about that, that's just nature. But throwing away plastic waste leads to pollution. Cans contain paint and other chemical garbage.


Tossing a banana peel on the side of the road does no harm at all. It does not cause any damage to nature. Do this in a place where it is not in sight (or in the way), because the eye wants something too. And if you do not want to throw them away, there's an alternative: eat them.

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