Mother Nature Network:
You’ve no doubt been walking in the park or on a trail and have seen a banana peel or orange rind lying on the ground. The outdoorsy person who tossed them no doubt thought the fruit remains would biodegrade eventually.
Sure they will. But it won’t happen overnight.
After watching hikers toss a sandwich on a trail, Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff, who hikes and works in the Grand Canyon, set up a small experiment. She put an apple core, a banana peel, orange peels, chewing gum and tissue paper in a cage of chicken wire, wide enough to allow small animals to go in and out. After six months, the orange peels had dried out, the banana peel had turned black, the chewing gum was the same and the tissue had become a blob. Nothing had been eaten or had rotted.
She buried the same items in sand and soil and six months later everything was still recognizable.
Interesting. While I don’t go for walks in the woods very often being a City Kid, I always assumed it was OK to toss organics into the woods “for the animals”. Looks like that might not be such a good idea after all.