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ALABAMA (WHNT) — Tossing a banana peel on the ground in Alabama isn’t littering since it’s biodegradable, right?

On behalf of law enforcement and environmentalists everywhere, the short answer is “no.”

While it isn’t far-fetched to think some things like banana peels, orange peels, apple cores, nuts, shells and seeds will be okay and disintegrate on their own, law is law and you could still find yourself paying the price.

Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-7-29 says that someone commits the crime of littering if they do any of the following:

  • Knowingly deposits in any manner litter on any public or private property or in any public or private waters without permission to do so.
  • Negligently deposits, in any manner, glass or other dangerously pointed or edged objects on or adjacent to water to which the public has lawful access for bathing, swimming, or fishing, or on or upon a public highway or within the right-of-way.
  • Discharges sewage, oil products, or litter into a river, inland lake, or stream within the state or within territorial waters of the state.

The decomposition of some things takes a lot longer than you might think, too. Banana peels generally take up to two years to break down, while orange peels take around 6 months.

While those timelines pale in comparison to plastic bags (20 years), straws (200 years), or plastic bottles (450 years), biodegradation still takes time for even organic items and can cause more problems down the line.

Tossing your lunch scraps and crumbs into the bushes for birds or squirrels may not necessarily be “feeding” them, but thwarting the variety in their diet experts say is pivotal to their survival.

According to Alabama law, litter is defined as “rubbish, refuse, waste material, garbage, dead animals or fowl, offal, paper, glass, cans, bottles, trash, scrap metal, debris, plastic, cigarettes, cigars, containers of urine, food containers, rubber tires, or any foreign substance.”

Littering is a Class B misdemeanor in Alabama. Those convicted could face a fine of up to $3,000 and 100 hours of community service.