When is litter not litter?

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:01
ThreadID: 95169 Views:3104 Replies:16 FollowUps:29
This Thread has been Archived
We all know that anything thrown on the ground and left there is litter. We have all seen it. From one piece of paper, to a trailer full, but, is tossing the odd apple core littering? Is putting your potato peelings, your carrot peelings etc under a bush littering?
Food scraps such as these would break down turning into compost/fertilser thus helping the plant. Other things like apple cores would quickly get eaten by birds or anything else that fancies fruit

I have always bagged this stuff, but when i saw a NPWS ranger toss an apple core, which he said would break down or get eaten, it got me thinking,.

Obviously this would also depend on where you are.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: wozzie (WA) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:17

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:17
Now,

IF YOU had thrown it out it would probably be considered litter !! <(:-)
Dreamin' agin

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 484313

Reply By: Member - reggy 2 (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:18

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:18
Hi SDG

Our council in their wisdom have decided that we should have another recycling bin to put all our waste in such as food scraps so it can be put into a compost heap at their depot.
So I suppose the NPWS Ranger is right in saying that it's ok.

Cheers keep recycling;
AnswerID: 484314

Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:29

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:29
Young son,
I have no problem leaving fruit and veggie scraps away from the maddening crowd as long as it can't cause problems with the spread of fruit fly or disease.

Sometimes we just strive to be to squeaky clean which we are not.

I laughed once at Chambers Pillar when some of the local children were throwing tissues around in the wind while their dad was showing the rangers around. The tissues would have broken down quickly so who cares. They were having a great time.

RA.
AnswerID: 484317

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:11

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:11
Rock Ape, tissues for some reason take ages to break down. When you find an old pooping place the poop is gone but toilet tissue is usually sitting there in a white blob. It seems to me it was a good opportunity to model some good behaviour to the children.
0
FollowupID: 759566

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:07

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:07
Bill,
sorry tell that to the land owners.

These were kids were locals from the community and they were lovely kids. We had a great time with them. Pity they have to grow up.

The tissues will break down in a short time with no damage done at all.

RA.
0
FollowupID: 759578

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:00

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:00
No I wasn't suggesting there was any damage. I was just pointing out that tissue, for some reason, breaks down very slowly. Perhaps because it is bleached? I don't understand "sorry tell that to the land owners".
0
FollowupID: 759589

Follow Up By: Rockape - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 08:15

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 08:15
Bill,
trouble with the written word is that we often take it the wrong way and in my case I did exactly that.

Please accept my apologies for taking it the wrong way.

All the best,
RA.
0
FollowupID: 759600

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:00

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:00
No worries RA... thanks.
0
FollowupID: 759602

Reply By: Bill BD - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:06

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:06
I used to think fruit beaks down really quickly but one day my wife and I, whilst walking on the Bibbulmun track, sat on a log and had lunch. I dropped several grapes and left them there on the assumption they would break down or get eaten. We did the same walk two months later and stopped at the same log. The grapes were still there and looked pretty fresh (it was winter). So it looks like native animals in that area don't eat grapes, and possibly not a lot of other fruits.

This thread got me thinking. If an animal did eat, for example, an apple. It could travel some distance and poop out an apple seed or two along the way. In reasonable growing areas there is a good chance they will germinate. So now there are self seeded apple trees in the bush. I would rather that didn't happen. Burying potato peelings results in potato plants, which will regrow every year in the right conditions.

Also, I know when I walk the Bib Track or even drive in the country I don't want to see human refuse.... I go to see Aussie bush as unsullied as possible. So, I rekon, if you carry it in then carry it out.... always. Its the polite and reasonable thing to do.
AnswerID: 484323

Follow Up By: SDG - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:37

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:37
I thought the same thing with the pooping of the seed, but then thought of all the different fruits grown here in the Riverina, which i'm sure get attaked by birds, flying foxes, etc. So far I don't think I have ever seen one wild fruit tree in the bush.

Not to say it can't happen. Thats how our native plants get spread.
0
FollowupID: 759574

Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:55

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:55
So Bill are you taking out your poop to .....I think there's to much thinking going on here , you need to "drink more" its a lot less stressful .....
Cheers Nick b
VKS 737 ( 0915 )

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 759575

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:12

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:12
No I don't Nick but some do. There are walks in Europe and the US where you have to carry out your poop. Strangely I don't find thinking stressful.

SDG, I have seen imported figs and (surprisingly) a chillie plant. But you are right, it seems to be a rare event. Still, I like to carry out my trash and believe it is good form to do so. The marri/jarrah bush around here, I think, has mechanism for supressing competition and only certain adapted plants can survive (except bridal creeper... can survive almost anywhere). I think the wetter Karri in the S. West forests might be more at risk from foreign seed.
0
FollowupID: 759591

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:22

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:22
SDG, maybe you should look at the bush a bit more closely. Wagga Wagga had so many wild olive trees that seeds were collected from them to develop newer strains. Olives are a weed in the Adelaide Hills. Wild apple, peach and plum trees line many country roads (mine included). Passionfruit vines (the edible sort) festoon north coast forests, and wild lemons used to be a staple citrus on farms. Many well-used campsites have nice little crops of tomatoes here and there.

I think the ranger was at the very least setting a bad example. OK, an apple core will break down. Citrus peel on the other hand is very slow to break down and just adds to the mess around some camps.

Just get into the habit of putting all food waste into a plastic bag and either burning it or put it in the bin.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 759592

Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:36

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 23:36
Most fruit seeds rarely propagate, they are too easily wiped out as seedlings - that's if they do sprout.
Our climatic conditions are too harsh for fruit seeds to grow to maturity without a lot of TLC and nurturing.

Now - if you're talking about spitting our olive seeds - be VERY careful about them. Olives are about the hardiest plant known to man - and feral olives are a threat to olive plantations fruit purity and size.

I've seen 2M high olive trees growing in the sand dunes, only 50M from the ocean.
The local "dune-carers" came through and chopped the olive trees back down to stumps.
They promptly sprouted again, and are now happily twice the size they were before they were hacked back.
They're more virile than redgums or bluegums, and very little kills them.

Anything organic eventually breaks down. If it's cold, it takes longer.
The softer manufactured items also break down, but it can take a few years.
I think it's best to take everything you produce as rubbish, with you when you go, and dispose of it where it can be properly removed to landfill.

Faeces and toilet paper will soon decompose in a few weeks when buried 30cm down - particularly if the soil is moist.
It takes much longer for toilet paper on the surface to decompose.
If left exposed on the surface, it blows around for 3-6 mths before it starts to break down.
0
FollowupID: 759593

Follow Up By: Member - Redbakk (WA) - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 00:20

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 00:20
So if I leave a poop will it grow into another me? :)
0
FollowupID: 759595

Follow Up By: Member - DickyBeach - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:14

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:14
Further to Ron N's closing remarks about faeces, before we backfill our 30cm deep hole we burn the paper that's lying on the bottom - it doesn't flare, just slowly burns, and in 20 years of camping I've never had wind blow burning paper out of the hole - and if any wild animal should later excavate the hole there's no white paper remaining to blow over the countryside.

0
FollowupID: 759597

Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:12

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:12
Hey Redbakk

It will grow into another Labor Government enviromental policy !!


Cheers

Gazz
0
FollowupID: 759604

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 18:24

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 18:24
Sorry Bill but I'm still worried about those grapes! If nothing in the bush will eat them then I'd be thinking that they were not fit for human consumption! Maybe you should give those grapes a miss in the future.

Kind regards
0
FollowupID: 759663

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 19:36

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 19:36
Well that might be true Beatit but I aint dead yet. They were just normal supermarket grapes... lady fingers if memory serves me correctly. Its not really that surprising..... the bush around Perth doesn't really have soft, fleshy fruits so why would the native animals see them as food? A bobtail might have snacked on them if it had been summer.
0
FollowupID: 759665

Reply By: Member - Josh- Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:30

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:30
Three problems I see with it.
1. If it is a popular area and everyone dumbs their scraps of food the place soon becomes a tip. You imagine all the people staying in a caravan park dumping their scraps under a tree over christmas break. Also it could encourage rodents to the area (not all animals in our bush are native or good). This could then encourage snakes to the camping ground.
Food these days are so full of preservatives so not all food breaks down as quickly as we think.

2. Where do you stop. You start throwing out food scraps, then someone throws out there left over Mcdonalds burger, before long people are throwing everything out. We already have enough trouble with rubbish in the bush to add to it.

3. Do we really want an apple tree growing in our wonderful native bushland.

Josh
AnswerID: 484326

Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 00:40

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 00:40
"Don't panic it's organic" was the reply I got from a NP ranger on a high school camping trip when he threw some orange peel in the bushes. I suppose its a matter of courtesy. I wouldnt leave organic food scraps at a place where other people might want to stay even if it does not harm the environment but have no issues with tossing a core into the scrub on a bush walk somewhere.
AnswerID: 484336

Reply By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 06:17

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 06:17
I reckon if you can carry it in, you can carry it out. I don't see that introducing vegetable waste to a site can help.
Haven't stopped smiling!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 484339

Reply By: landed eagle - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 06:57

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 06:57
It only takes a piece of spud peel to take and you've got a crop of spuds! Not a good look in a NP.
AnswerID: 484340

Follow Up By: Honky - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:50

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:50
Have you ever tried to grow potatoes?
It is very difficult if not in a home environment
It would have to be in a rainforest area.
As soon as dirt dries out they die.

Honky
0
FollowupID: 759606

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:41

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:41
Honky, have you tried growing Congo Blue potatoes. In my garden even without watering they have become weeds.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 759628

Reply By: Member - Josh- Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:43

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:43
How many people on here throw their vegie and fruit scraps on their front lawn at home??So why do it in the bush??? Take it in, take it out, not hard really.

Josh
AnswerID: 484344

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:43

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:43
Good point Josh. Id like to think people would clean up the onion skins and eggshells that get left around camfires too. How many would leave those scraps lying around their kitchen at home?

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 759633

Follow Up By: SDG - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 15:38

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 15:38
Have not seen it scattered around lawns, but have seen it in gardens, under bushes etc.
0
FollowupID: 759643

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:59

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:59
OMG!!!
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

Retired 2016 and now Out and About!

Somewhere you want to explore ? There is no time like the present.

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 484345

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 08:56

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 08:56
Miners in the late 1800's disposed of the tins used for blackberry jam across the gold fields of the high country.

What harm could it do?

At least the tins have long gone.

AnswerID: 484348

Follow Up By: SDG - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:02

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:02
Is that where all those blackberry bushes came from?
I never knew that

Those btw are the only wild fruit plants I personally have come across, apart from those which were deliberatly planted as part of an old homestead and gone wild from neglect.
0
FollowupID: 759603

Follow Up By: Honky - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:52

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 09:52
Can cooked seeds sprout?

Honky
0
FollowupID: 759607

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:54

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:54
QUOTE - At least the tins have long gone. - UNQUOTE

Boobook - You know, I've often been amazed at how many of those tins have survived, too.
In the drier parts of the W.A. Goldfields, you still find isolated tin cans and rubbish dumps with partly-intact cans.
The tinning was pretty good in those days, not like the crap we get nowadays.

Never seen any plants survive from seeds in tins, or in rubbish in the low-rainfall areas.
Only ever seen tomato seeds survive when they were disposed of on the outside of the bank of a small dam, built to contain sewage on a mine site.
They were getting moisture through the dam bank, because it wasn't sealed.
Wasn't inclined to try the tomatoes, because I wasn't sure if they could have been carrying some pathogen from the sewage.

Cheers - Ron.
0
FollowupID: 759622

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:39

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:39
Plenty of old tins survive, especially in the drier parts. Have found more than one Vestas tin lying on the ground.

Seeds dont survive prolonged cooking eg for making jam etc. Heat germination of native seeds is more a quick exposure to open seed pods (in which case the seeds are protected) or to break dormancy by compounds in smoke.

Blackberries were actually deliberately introduced into Victoria - including by a botanist of all people (Von Mueller). The thinking back then was that it would be handy to have food plants growing out in the bush. So he rode around on his plant collecting journeys sprinkling blackberry seeds here and there, so others who came after could have a feed. (In a similar vein some early navigators left pigs and rabbits behind and planted gardens with fruit trees and vegetables eg at Recherche Bay in Tasmania.)

Ron I dont think the tomatoes would have had anything wrong with them. The use of human excrement as fertiliser to grow crops is widespread in Asia and does not seem to lead to disease.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 759627

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:52

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:52
Ron, not sure about other seeds but blackberries need a minimum of about 700mm to seed and grow. I should have said the tins have gone in the damper areas.

Val, while thre was deliberate planting of blackberries, that is not the propogation method in isolated parts of the high country. The seeds did survive the preservation unfortunately.
0
FollowupID: 759634

Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:44

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:44
QUOTE - Can cooked seeds sprout? - UNQUOTE

Honky - It depends on the seed type. Many vegetable seeds are ruined by cooking, but quite a number of the hard seeds, such as many Australian native plants from semi-desert regions, often need heat to fire them up.

The seeds we've found that survive the heat of the compost bin are mainly pumpkin & tomato. The vigorous plants, the ones that are easy to grow, are the ones that will sprout in the wild.

However, the rainfall frequency and the soil moisture are critical to fruit & vegetable survival. If the ground dries out, even for a short period, they're buggered.
Then there's the factor of the amount of animals/pests in the area that like chewing on nice tasty fresh shoots.
It seems like anytime I try to grow anything like fruit or vegies, I might as well have a flashing traffic information light on the shoots, saying to the pests - "Over here! - this is where the tasty shoots are!" [:-)

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 484361

Reply By: Erad - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:37

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 13:37
I used to think along these lines - it is natural, some animal will eat it etc, but when you know the density of foxes in this country - ranging from 1 per 3 sq km in the desert areas to over 800 per sq km in cities, I no longer throw or leave anything. Foxes and pigs are omnivores and will eat anything, so my view is to let them starve..... The last thing this country needs is an outbreak of Foot and Mouth or some other nasty exotic disease which would decimate the domestic and export meat industry.

Things like apple trees require another tree for the fruit to set, but if they do, a feral treee will not be tended and is a potential base for all sorts of diseases and pests to breed from.

We should all be responsible for keeping our backyard clean and tidy. Australia isour backyard. Keep it neat.
AnswerID: 484369

Reply By: SDG - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 15:30

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 15:30
Looks like I opened up a can of worms. Some say it's fine, others not.

Plenty of room for thought.
AnswerID: 484381

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 17:09

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 17:09
SDG - I think Josh has nailed it pretty neatly. Just make like you do at home when you're disposing of rubbish. You don't scatter fruit or onion peelings, seeds, stones, etc around your house - why do it in the bush?

It never ceases to amaze me that people who put rubbish in bins at home - who then go camping or to the beach - often just pack up and walk away from a pile of rubbish. It's an Abo outlook - "that's white mans rubbish, let them pick it up".

In the case of most whites, I think it's just plain thoughtlessness or immaturity, to leave any rubbish lying around camping areas.
You can always tell where people have been - you find rubbish. When you find that magic pristine area, you know that very few people have been there.

Cheers - Ron.
0
FollowupID: 759655

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 18:52

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 18:52
From my bushwalking days, the ethics for rubbish removal was always if you carry it in full, it's a lot less bulky and lighter to carry out empty.

This is easily carried over to 4wd'n, and of course it's even easier !
All you need is some hardy rubbish bags.

Someone mentioned orange peel . . . this and mandarins etc take almost an eternity to break down, and remain a scar of the aesthetics of an area for all who pass by.
So too would other scraps, even if they do break down within a week or two.

With toilet procedures, you should indeed bury solid waste, nothing worse than walking out of camps into the bush and finding huge amounts of paper and carp left on the surface.
A hole in the surface soil about 30cm deep, enough to not be attractive to animals digging around, and it will break down very fast in this more organic soil layer.
In rocky terrain, look for fallen trees for better soil at the root ball, and it makes for a great start on getting the hole dug.
Burning the paper is a good idea, like DickyBeach said it burns very subtlety.

There are some places in Australia where carrying out toilet waste is the done thing, kayaking the Franklin, and above the snowline are certainly two places this is done routinely.

Now, on this, what about campfires.
I now have a campfire where permitted when camping with the 4b.
No problems with burning anything truly paper, but on some group trips, I've seen MANY people putting plastics, foil, and cans into the fires.

These of course will not break down, but be buried in the ashes and covered over with dirt, out of sight out of mind for many.
Until they are dug up by another person or animal, or soil washes away in heavy rain etc.

Anyway, great topic and hope it gets people thinking about what they and others in their groups do, never too late to correct what one does out there.

Cheers,
Les
AnswerID: 484397

Reply By: Hairy (WA) - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 03:16

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 03:16
Gday,
Have you ever thought of using a bit of common sense?
AnswerID: 484419

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 10:27

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 10:27
Hairy, great contribution mate !

Not sure who you're aiming at, but the OP posted this in response to seeing a Ranger throw an apple core.

Common sense has little to do with this topic, more personal ethics in the bush.
You can judge a persons true character by what they do when no one else is around to watch . . .
0
FollowupID: 759706

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 11:52

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 11:52
So have you finnished with the insults?
I will have to disagree.....If I may!
Common sense should play a large in part in most things.........My comment wasnt AIMED at anyone, just MY point of view.....and to make sarcastic remarks about my contubution because it wast done to you satisfaction is hardly a contibution in itself! But thanks for the sermon anyway!!!


The question was, when is discarding food scraps littering?

Well......... its littering when it looks like litter??????
Eg.
A piece of orange peel out in the middle of no where wouldnt be, because if no one sees it, its biodegradeable, and no one is there to call it litter.
BUT......
Throwing orange peel on the ground at a buisy roadside stop on top of the scraps of a hundred other peoples, could be called litter becuse people do see it and it does look untidy....therefore could be classed as litter.

So......
Why not use a bit of common sense and use your own judgement depending on the curcumstances????


Thanks MATE!

0
FollowupID: 759713

Follow Up By: Frances - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 13:05

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 13:05
Spot on Hairy!
0
FollowupID: 759719

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 13:41

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 13:41
Hey Hairy, look I didn't mean to upset you like it appears has happened . . . I just think your reply was a bit vague and generalised . . . You don't think "Have you ever thought of using a bit of common sense?" could be taken a little condescendingly ?

Anyway, sorry to raise your blood pressure there.

The OP's message wasn't anything to do with common sense, but more an observation by the original poster of what they saw and were quite surprised by it.

Some people have common sense and still leave tins / cans in fires and bury them, this is definitely an ethics issue . . . or maybe an education one, where there is a lack of understanding that animals dig up food scraps, left overs, toilet waste etc.

Anyways, catch you round.
0
FollowupID: 759720

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)