While teaching the Exploring the Desert workshop for Art Toolkit on Saturday I started thinking about the snacks I like to take hiking (lol!) and then that got me to thinking about all the times I’ve picked up “organic” trash out on the trail. I’ve often wondered how long this type of trash takes to decompose.
I did some research and discovered that these take longer to decompose than I thought:
- Banana peels take 6 months. I couldn’t find any stats specifically on the desert, but I’ve found desiccated black peels that are super hard! One time we picked up a partially eaten banana that someone tossed under a juniper.
- Orange peels take 2 years. Their waxy coating makes them take even longer to decompose in arid climates. Bugs don’t eat them since citrus oil is a natural insecticide.
- Pistachio and sunflower shells take 3 years! Sunflower shells also have a substance that acts as a plant growth inhibitor (picture the area under bird feeders) and salt can attract critters.
Jason and I always pick up trash while we’re out hiking (Jason picks up more than me!) and I’ll never look at these kinds of things the same way again. The bottom line is Leave No Trace — pack it out.
Thanks for reading my little rant! My next post will have a list of my favorite hiking snacks. :)