If you’ve thrown natural foods like banana peels and apple cores on the ground after finishing them, you’re not alone. It doesn’t seem like a big deal: They’ll simply decompose over time, right? Unfortunately, one national park is making it clear that isn’t exactly the case. Instead, littering the food could hurt the environment and the animals.
In a recent Facebook post, Glacier National Park debunked the myth, pointing out that while these foods are natural, they don’t decompose—at least not quickly. According to the National Outdoor Leadership School, orange peels can take up to six months to fully decompose. Bananas, on the other hand, can take up to two years.
I know what you’re thinking. Won’t animals eat anything you toss? The Glacier National Park says probably, but it can be problematic—especially if you think about where the food is. If you simply throw a banana peel or an apple core out your car window, that will only draw animals to the side of the road, increasing their chances of being harmed or hit. Those foods can also make them sick. “If eaten by wildlife, it will likely not digest well since these animals are not accustomed to these foods,” the post reads.
The next time you finish your apple, think twice about tossing it on the ground. When it comes to the health of the animals and the environment, putting it in a garbage can or packing it up to throw out later is always the way to go.