The slogan is famous around the state. "Don't Mess with Texas".

According to the Don't Mess With Texas website, here are two crucial litter facts.  One approximately 362 million pieces of litter accumulate on Texas roads every year. Two, you can be fined $500 every time you litter in Texas.  If you toss over five pounds, you may have to pay up to a $2000 fine.

With that in mind, is it littering to throw a biodegradable substance like a banana peel or apple core out the window in Texas?

 

To answer this, it is vital to define exactly how the State of Texas defines the act of "littering." In Texas, littering is the illegal dumping, placing, or throwing any refuse or waste material onto public or private property. This includes but is not limited to such things as:

  1. Garbage, trash, or rubbish
  2. Waste paper or cardboard
  3. Cans, bottles, or other containers
  4. Scrap metal, automobile parts, or other similar materials
  5. Dead animals or parts thereof
  6. Any other waste material that can cause public annoyance or be hazardous to public health or safety.

For the sake of our banana peel argument, the most crucial part of the above list is number six.  A banana peel or apple core can cause public annoyance or harm public health or safety.

While it is true that they are biodegradable, they can take more than two years to disintegrate fully. During that time, they are unsightly and hazardous to the environment.  They can cause slip-and-fall hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists. They attract insects and animals that might become a nuisance.

If you argued that throwing banana peels or apple cores out your window should be allowed since they are biodegradable, then using that same argument, wouldn't it be perfectly fine to throw feces or urine out the window?  Those things are biodegradable as well.

I don't think we want that by the sides of our roads.  That would certainly dampen interest in the "Adopt A Highway" program.

To summarize, throwing banana peels or apple cores out the window of your car would be considered littering, and you could be cited and fined. If anyone witnesses you doing it, and then an injury is a result, you could possibly also be held liable.

It is not good to find out the hard way what happens when you "Mess With Texas".

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