Monday, April 15, 2024

The problem with tossing fruit litter

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Quiz time: You have just finished eating an apple while on a hike. You are on a trail without trash receptacles, what do you do with the apple core?

If you answered “toss it in the bushes” because you always thought fruit remnants are biodegradable and harmless, prepare for a slowly nodding “ahhh” moment.

Decomposition takes time

According to the folks at Glacier National Park, the decomposition of fruit litter takes much longer than you probably imagine; and in the meantime, it presents other problems. In a Facebook post titled, “Myth Busters Banana Peel and Apple Core Edition!” the park tackles the myth of “I can toss my banana peels, apple cores, and other ‘natural’ foods on the ground because they’ll decompose.”

The verdict? Busted.

They write:

“These ‘natural’ food items will not decompose quickly. If animals don’t eat the food waste, decomposition will likely take much longer than you expect. Some fruit products can take years to decompose depending on the environment they are in!”

The problems with animals eating food trash

They explain that when animals eat food trash, habituation increases. For instance, food thrown out of a car window can inspire animals to start searching roadsides for treats, upping the chances of being hit. by a car. And consider this, small rodents on the side of the road attract owls and other raptors, “Collisions with vehicles are believed to be among the top five direct causes of bird mortality in the United States,” notes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more…

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