How many of you have tossed the skin, core or flesh of your recently eaten fruit into the wilderness before? Perhaps an apple core out the car window on a road trip through the bush, or a banana peel into the trees on your last hike. It’s likely that we all have at some point, without any thought of the consequences.
It’s organic after all, it will decompose in no time, right? Wrong.
Ditching organic matter in nature is still littering and we’re here to explain how it’s problematic and why you should toss the habit.
A common belief when disposing of an apple core or orange peel is that in a couple of days it will have softened, decayed and vanished into the earth entirely, fertilising the ground where it lay for a new plant to spring from. This contributes to the misconception that it might even be good for the environment if we discard our organic waste outdoors. When it comes to our favourite on-the-go fruit and vegetables, it is correct to assume that if left outside they will decompose, but many are unaware how long this process actually takes
As opposed to a couple days, an apple core takes 8 weeks to decompose entirely while a banana peel or orange skin can take up to 2 years.
Now that we know how long organic waste sticks around, let’s consider the effects this has on the surrounding environment. To start with it provides native animals with the opportunity to eat things they shouldn’t be, and risks endangering them by drawing them closer to human-inhabited or frequented areas. Further, the sighting of organic litter remnants encourages other people in passing to do the same. Say you toss your banana peel off the trail just once, knowing next time you’ll do the right thing and take it with you. What’s to stop several others passing the aforementioned peel and deciding it’s okay for them to ditch their organic waste too? Next thing you know, you’ve got banana peels to rival plant life, and no one wants to see (or smell) that!
To avoid our beautiful outdoors being overrun by peels and cores, it’s as simple as taking your waste with you when you leave or utilising the nearest available waste disposal bin. If you’re still keen on the idea of fertilising the ground, get composting! Starting up a compost bin creates the perfect space to dispose of all your organic waste, just one more reason to bring it home with you. So now that we know organic litter isn’t harmless, let’s toss the habit. The only thing we should be leaving behind is footprints.