Is it ok to toss your apple core or banana peel into the woods?

Regardless of how you feel about tossing food waste onto the ground, I beg you not to throw things out the window while driving or along a road.

Mice and other small mammals are attracted to litter along the road and consequently many raptors are killed by cars as they try to drop in to get their prey or taking off after capture.


It does indeed depend on the circumstances. In a desert, things take approximately forever to decompose; they just desiccate. In a wet environment like the Eastern forests, organic refuse is less of a problem - but it still draws nuisance wildlife to the areas humans frequent, so pack it out anyway. You packed it in! You haven’t had a segmentation fault, so don’t dump your core. :slight_smile:

Organic refuse from native materials is pretty fair game. If you happen (lawfully, I hope!) to catch and eat a fish, harvest fruit or nuts, and so on, during your travels, depositing the inedible portions in the places where they’d ordinarily wind up is acceptable practice. (It seems strange to a conservationist at first, but returning fish offal to the waterbody where you caught the fish is supporting part of the fish’s food web. Sooner or later, that dead fish was going to be in that water whether you caught it or not.)

WAG bags, poop tubes, and the like are needed above treeline or in some extremely arid conditions, but are overkill for well-watered woodland, where stuff decomposes fast and proper compliance with Deuteronomy 23:13 suffices. If you can’t comply because of frozen ground in the winter, then spread that which comes from you as thin as possible so that solar UV will disinfect it, and wipe with a snowball so that there’s no TP to manage. A snowball isn’t nearly as unpleasant as it sounds.

I have had the experience of returning to a campsite about a year after I previously stayed there, and out of curiosity reusing the site of a previous cathole. It was pretty much indistinguishable from when I dug it the first time - no sign of TP or that which the TP cleaned up after.

Obviously, any instructions from the land manager should take precedence over mine.

(and now I’m remembering an argument I had with a state employee at a campground recycling center - “You’re supposed to leave the labels on the cans!” “Uhm, this isn’t my trash. I was hiking in the backcountry for the last three days, and this is garbage that I cleaned out of campsites.” “But you’re supposed to leave the labels on the cans.” “There were no labels on the cans when I picked them up. I was cleaning up after someone else.” “But your’re supposed to leave the labels on the cans!” et cetera,)


I occasionally see an owl (usually barn) that has been plastered by a car and it always makes me sad; that reasoning makes sense.


Long live Stinkymeat!

And what would have happened to a piece of fruit from a Grand-Canyon-Native-Cactus if she would have put it in the same box? Experiments without baselines or control groups are worthless…

(and I keep wondering what happened to the apple core… maybe it decomposed or got eaten?)


I used to drive the same way to a place I used to work every day. I would exit the expressway and make a left onto Courthouse Road in Chesterfield County, VA. On the ground right next to my drivers side door there were always banana peels in various states of decomposition from fresh to black and dried out. A new one every day. I imagined that some commuter ate a banana every morning and disposed of it out their window at that light in the same place every morning. I wondered how structured the rest of that persons life was.


I tossed a fish carcass (that I had fileted) in the weeds next to a cornfield once. Figured it might make good fertilizer for something.

Stripped to bones after two nights. Bones completely gone in a week.

This is the US midwest. Nothing tropical.


Yeah, I live in the Seattle area. There is some kind of precipitation nearly every day from mid-october through early may. Things start rotting very quickly.


Two more years of Republican control and you’ll wish you had a good stock of knappable flint.


Just don’t litter your goddamn garbage.
How hard is that? Keep your shit to your self.

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Absolutely…once I put down this cider (hic).


My grandpa used to say that there were only two things that were acceptable to throw out of your car window onto the road: Apple cores (because someone needs to feed the rats) and chewing gum (to fix the cracks.). He was a civil engineer so maybe he was onto something with the gum thing.

Edit to add:

So maybe not so right about feeding the rats…


We had a couple osage oranges in the back yard, you could bowl with the giant nobby fruits. Once they started to get dinged up the sap was quite sticky. My dad once cut one down and made a chisel mallet from the wood. I have that well used, slightly splitting beast in my office. Memories!


I flipped my lid when I was visiting Michigan and saw these things for sale at the grocery store. I was like, people EAT these things here?

I had to find an employee who said people use them to repel bugs.

The only use I ever found for them is impromptu targets (in Kansas).

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When I visited Machu Picchu the guide told us that it used to be teeming with rabbits until visitors starting discarding their banana peels around and the rabbits all died because banana peel is poisonous to rabbits. I’ve never heard this claim any other time so I assume it’s not true, but every time I see a discarded banana peel I think about that.


i remember stinkymeat as it was on going …

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That sounds like the urban legend about tourists being cursed by Madame Pele if they took lava rocks home from the volcano. The tour guides were probably just tired of having to clean up after slovenly people leaving trash.


What we need to do now is to find all the places were fruit trees grow wild and cut them down. We can’t have apples on our forest floor anymore and we can’t let scavengers eat our discarded food. they might get a tummy ache and then the world would end.


In many cases, it’s more about the nuisance to humans than about any real ecologic impact. I seldom sleep at trail shelters, in part because so many of them are infested with rodents. My tent is much cleaner. The rodents are at the shelters because humans before me left organic waste lying about.


My take has always been that if the organic material grows in that ecosystem, there will be processes to break it down. So nothing gets thrown in the desert, above treeline, or in the arctic. Orange and banana peel get carried out unless I am in the tropics. Apple cores are fair game if I’m in temperate environment, but I use judgement.

I forget whether it was Jack Kerouac or Edward Abbey who said it was fine to litter along highways because the road itself was already ruining the environment - I disagreed with that even though I like their writing