Is it OK to throw orange peels on the ground?

Just because we think something is biodegradable does not mean we can just throw it on the ground. Biodegradable or not, littering is not okay either way. Orange peels are not an exception. 

You can usually find that banana and orange peels as well as apple cores somewhere on the ground. They’re a pretty common sight. People who throw them away must think it’s fine as they could decompose together with the soil. 

However, knowing better does not mean you’ll let them rot in there and just wait for them to degrade. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. From an environmental perspective, the best we can do is pick them up, put them in the right place, and wash your hands.

While it’s true that all of them are technically biodegradable, we have to remember that it does not happen instantly. Manual composting takes a little while.

If we will litter, it will attract animals to areas filled with people. This can lead to accidental killing of birds and other animals attracted to fruit peels and scraps. Studies show that food thrown alongside the roads draws wildlife and increases the risk of roadkill. 

Why you should never litter

In case no one has told you, littering does not help the environment in any way. There is even a higher probability to damage animal welfare.

There are also anti-littering laws everywhere in the world. You could get fined when you throw that orange and banana peels, wrapping papers, and other trash. When you get caught, it would not matter whether you threw something biodegradable or not.

Anti-littering laws state that you can’t throw anything out the window. A banana peel, for instance, could stay there for two or three days. It would naturally look ugly to someone and it is considered litter. Littering will cost you your hard-earned money, and for no reason at all.

Think about something we can do to make our surroundings clean and green. Not littering should not really take a lot of effort. Just remember not to throw anything on the ground. It does not matter if it’s a biodegradable material. All types of garbage must go to the trash bin.

If you can’t find one, just hold it for a bit more or wrap it in a piece of paper then dispose of it once you find the trash can.

Common questions throwing orange peels on the ground

How long does it take for an orange peel to decompose?

Orange peels, along with seed shells, banana peels, and fruit pits, decompose. However, it does not happen as fast as we think. It greatly depends on the environment. An orange peel can take up to six months to decompose. The thing is, even though these things decompose more quickly than materials like plastic or glass, they still stick around for a while. 

What do orange juice companies do with the peels?

31 million tons of citrus fruits are produced each year around the world. Brazil and the United States are among the top producers, amounting to around 38 percent of the world’s oranges. The peels that are wasted after juicing, which account for 50 percent of the orange are usually eliminated by burning. This process produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If not burned, some end up being dumped into landfills, where the oil from the peels seeps into the soil. Such a process can affect plants, too. 

Does orange peel rot?

It does not. When discarded, orange peels gradually dry out of juices. This results to its dehydration. Orange peel will not develop molds or even rot. It is highly likely, however, for these peels to curl up, and end up brittle.

Beginning today, before you to another orange and banana peel into the trash, stop and think about the potential benefits you may be throwing away. These peels, pretty much like the rest of your kitchen scrap, could be repurposed instead of just being thrown away. 

Orange peels can be added to the compost bin or used directly in the garden. It is a very potent replacement for chemical fertilizer or insecticides. Its natural acidity will come in handy in driving off nasty insects that could destroy your house plants and backyard crops. You can use the peels to minimize household waste, reduce the use of chemicals, and beautify the landscape.

It should be natural for us to think of practical uses for our household waste before directly throwing it in the trash bin. This way, we would not just mindlessly contribute to the growing pains of landfill waste. Reuse, reduce, and recycle should always be the way to go.

If, for some reason, you need to throw away orange peels and other fruit remains, make sure you do it properly. Find a trash bin and never litter.