To the editor:

Earth Day is observed today, April 22, and many people will be taking part in Earth Day activities over the next several days. The Oswego County Green Team encourages residents to celebrate Earth Day year-round, and help keep Oswego County clean and green.

We are blessed with beautiful lakes, rivers, parks and wilderness areas that provide year-round recreation for residents and visitors alike. Unfortunately, too many people have the impression that it’s ok to litter because someone else will be there to pick it up.

Have you ever thrown an apple core from your car window onto a roadside with the thought, ‘It will decompose’ or, ‘the birds will eat it’? In fact, organic litter can take months to break down in the environment and as well as attracting animals to the dangerous roadside, ingesting decomposing rubbish can be harmful to pets and wildlife. Litter degradability depends on a range of factors including climate and conditions.

Here’s how long it takes for typical waste products to break down in the environment:

Cigarette butts - Up to 12 years

Plastic bags - Up to 20 years

Plastic bottle-  450 years

Aluminium cans - 80-100 years

Tin cans - 50 years

Orange peel - Up to 2 years

Apple core 1 - 2 months

Banana skin 3 - 4 weeks

Paper bag - 1 month

Cardboard - 2 months

Glass - 1-2 million years                                   

Please stop and think before leaving litter on the ground. If you would like to help in the effort to reduce litter in Oswego County, please consider supporting the Oswego County Green Team. Contact Bob Green, Chairman, at

Thank you!

Dick Drosse

Bob Green

Oswego County Green Team

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