Is Orange Peel Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Not sure what to do with your orange peel once you’ve eaten your orange? Then check out this article where you’ll find out is orange peel biodegradable or not?

Orange peel is biodegradable. You can put orange peels on your compost heap where they will break down and rot.

Adding fruit peels like oranges to your compost is a great way to create a healthy mulch. 

But how long will it take for your orange peel to decompose? Find out the answer to this question and more in the upcoming section. 

Is It Ok to Throw Orange Peels on the Ground?

There is a common misconception going around that just because something is natural, you can throw it anywhere and it will break down. But that is simply not the case. 

If you were to toss an orange peel onto a bit of tarmac, it could stay there for two years before it decomposes. You cannot throw your orange peels just anywhere you like.

So what should you do? You must throw your orange peels into a natural habitat. This means an environment with the right temperature and soil. 

Your compost heap, for example, is the perfect place for you to toss your orange peel. Even with the best conditions, an orange peel could still take up to 6 months to decompose. 

There is another danger that comes with throwing away orange peels at random. That is, the rotting food could attract wildlife to the wrong places. 

For example, throwing orange peel on a bit of sidewalk could attract wildlife to the sidewalk, a place that is dangerous for animals. 

To be safe, it is best to hang on to your orange peels until you can throw them in your green waste bin, or your garden or fruit and vegetable waste bin at home. 

But if you have a compost bin at home, you can also place them in there.

Do Oranges Biodegrade?

Do Oranges Biodegrade?

One interesting thing about oranges is that their peel contains a natural insecticide. 

This prevents insects from biting at it and that’s why it takes orange peel so long to decompose. But even still, orange peel does eventually biodegrade as do oranges. 

This may, though, take 2 years or longer if the orange and its peel are not in the right environment. 

In the right environment, an orange peel could disintegrate in as little as 6 months. But this requires the right temperature and soil conditions. 

But what about other fruit? Is it ever a good idea to chuck an apple core out of the car window or toss a banana peel into a bush? Here are some estimates of how long it takes for some fruit to decompose. 

FruitHow Long It Takes to Decompose (Average)
Apple core3 weeks to 2 months
Banana peel2 to 6 months
Orange peel6 months to 2 years

What does this information tell us? That just because fruit is natural, this does not mean that we should just toss it and hope that it will decompose quickly all on its own. 

We should put our food waste into the correct fruit and vegetable waste bin at home to make sure it breaks down as quickly as possible. 

Do Orange Peels Decompose Quickly?

Contrary to popular belief, orange peels do not decompose quickly. An orange peel left in the wrong environment could take 2 years or even longer to decompose. 

That said, in the right environment, the same peel could decompose in a matter of weeks to 6 months. 

Of course, an orange peel decomposes a lot quicker than any plastic and it does not harm the environment as it does so. 

But this does not mean that we should toss our orange peels just anywhere we like. Here’s what you should do with yours. 

  • Use the orange peel zest in cakes and even on salads as part of a dressing
  • Drink the orange peel in tea
  • Use the peel to polish wood
  • Add the peel to brown sugar to stop it from hardening
  • Put them in your home garden waste
  • Put them in your home fruit and vegetable waste bin
  • Put them on your compost heap

What can you do to make your orange peels decompose faster? One thing that will speed up decomposition is maintaining the right temperature. 

A compost pile on the sunny side of your yard will help the peels disintegrate faster. You should also keep a good balance of brown and green material on your compost heap. 

Final Thoughts

So, you’ve just finished eating a delicious zesty orange. But now you’re wondering what you should do with the peel. 

Is it ok to just throw it on the ground and leave it to decompose? Is orange peel biodegradable?

This article has helped us to see that orange peel is biodegradable because it is a natural material. It will eventually rot and break down. 

But, if the peel is not in the right place, it could take months or even years for it to decompose. So, make sure you put your orange peels into your compost or fruit waste bin at home.

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