Leave no trace: don’t drop banana skins

If we want to leave no trace when we’re out in the countryside (and we do!) then we should never (ever) throw our banana skins into the undergrowth. Banana skins are a big problem for conservation: especially in natural beauty spots haunted by humans.

I don’t want to make anyone feel bad: I’ve definitely been guilty of this faux pas on many occasions. More than anything, it’s a problem with how we educate ourselves about littering (and the ways that nefarious forces tamper with that education).

The problem with bananas is that their rubbery skins take up to two years to decompose—and when they finally do, the high levels of potassium throw off the nutritional balance of the local ecosystem. We’re effectively poisoning the soil. On top of that, animals have trouble digesting the skins—bananas aren’t a native diet for British wildlife.

So let’s take our banana skins home with us and either compost them or throw them into a smoothie and eat them (seriously).

If we can’t do either of those, then let’s take different snacks on our walks, ones we can devour in their entirety: berries, nuts or dried fruit. My number one hiking snack is apples—and I eat the core!

Whatever you do, leave no trace.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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