How To Leave No Trace While Hiking
Glacier National Park in the US put out this information about tossing foods we think will decompose and the impact it can have on our environment.
Myth: I can toss my banana peels, apple cores, and other ‘natural’ foods on the ground because they’ll decompose.
BUSTED! 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!
Food waste is likely to be eaten by wildlife and increase habituation. For example, if you throw your apple core out the window of your car, it may encourage wildlife to search for foods along roads. The more time they spend around roads, the higher the chance they’ll get hit by a car.
‘Natural’ food items are also usually not so natural. Apples, bananas, oranges, etc are not native to National Parks. If eaten by wildlife it will likely not digest well since these animals are not accustomed to these foods. Fruit and vegetable seeds that end up on the ground could result in a non-native plant growth.
Last but not least, no one wants to see your food waste decomposing on their visit to a pristine national park.
This myth is common and if you have tossed food waste onto the ground, take a mental note to pack it out next time. If you see a friend try to toss food waste, let them know at least one of these reasons why they should pack it out instead!
Thanks Glacier National Park for the info.
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