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22-07-2021 | Frank Jansen

Is it okay to throw a banana peel on the roadside?

Just throwing your trash on the street on the road is of course absolute not done, everyone will agree on that. 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 should not be allowed. The peel would take years to digest. Bubble talk or not? We dive in.

Different time frames

If you start researching the subject, you soon come across different time frames, ranging from 2 weeks to as much as 10 years. Everyone seems to be parroting each other in this, without thinking whether it's correct. Fortunately, there are also people who just test it 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 firm. He points out that although Hans' research is not scientific, the results are convincing.

Banana peel on roadside

Organic material

The question, of course, is whether the term matters at all. What matters is whether the waste is organic or whether it contains crap (poison). In the jungle where bananas grow, they fall down in bunches only to rot away there. Trees fall down and rot away, leaves fall off the trees and rot away. Dead animals ditto. Nobody cares about that, that's just nature. But throwing away plastic waste leads to pollution. Cans contain paint and other chemical crap. That's not good.


There is no harm whatsoever in throwing a banana peel on the roadside. It does not harm nature at all. Just do it in a place where it is not in sight (or in the road), because the eye wants something too. And if you do not want to throw them away, Henk gives another tip. Eat them.

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