Are Orange Peels Biodegradable?

Fruits and vegetables are vital for growth and development, so if you regularly consume a fair share of oranges, thumbs up. It’s an excellent choice because it’s loaded with antioxidants, essential vitamins, and other beneficial nutrients. However, if you aren’t zesting, chances are you throw your orange peels away. While they’re edible, consuming the peels in large amounts may upset your stomach.

As an environmentalist, proper waste disposal of household waste is essential. And while we can often compost most kitchen waste, experts recommend looking into other disposal methods for some items. But again, if orange peels are biodegradable, then composting them won’t be challenging.

Keep looking below to discover if it’s okay to throw orange peels on the ground. This blog post will also explore environmentally related questions like how decomposition takes for the peels and whether they can be used as fertilizer. Enjoy!

Do Orange Peels Biodegrade?

With so many rules about composting and biodegradation, it’s okay to double-check before taking action. And yes, orange peels are biodegradable because, typically, fruit peels break down and rot.

As such, when you peel your oranges, the compost pile may be a suitable place to dispose of the waste.

Now, although orange peels are biodegradable, it’s still vital to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. It’s a popular belief that organic waste like orange peels disappears after a while, and that’s true.

But again, it leaves a mess in the environment, which takes a significant period to dissipate entirely. You may argue that animals eat the peels, but that’s a wrong assumption.

Because if you can’t eat your peels, then chances are animals won’t want them either. Even if we call them natural trash, it’s important to remember that they aren’t natural to where you’re leaving them.

Orange peels are biodegradable, but we recommend doing it properly. This is through an appropriate waste disposal method like composting.

Is it Okay to Throw Orange Peels on the Ground?

It can be tempting to throw organic items like orange peels on the ground. After all, they’re biodegradable, so they’ll undoubtedly break down within a short period.

Well, this isn’t enough justification for throwing organic waste on the ground. We’re often harsher on improper disposal of non-biodegradable waste like plastics, but decomposable waste also shares a similar effect.

Although materials like orange peels won’t harm the environment while they break down, the ground is an inappropriate place for them. People often rely on animals like squirrels and birds to consume this waste, but the bitter fact is that it rarely happens.

Unless fruit waste is a part of an animal’s diet, it likely won’t eat it if it finds it laying somewhere. Reduce your carbon footprints by disposing of your orange peels properly. And if you find apple core, banana peels, or any organic waste on the ground, kindly pick it up, dispose of it properly, and wash your hands.

On the other hand, if biodegradation is why you dispose of orange peels by throwing them on the ground, think about it this way. These materials cannot break down overnight, and even when they decompose at a fast rate, most natural trash requires at least several days before dissipation occurs.

So, look for the nearest green bin or save your orange peels until you get home.

How Long Does it Take for Orange Skin to Decompose?

Perhaps plastic is one of the most hazardous materials because of how long it takes to decompose; it runs from decades to centuries. Many other man-made products are notorious enough to resist decomposition for a significant period.

On the other hand, an orange peel will break down in 6 months. When comparing the degradation period, orange peels seem like the lesser evil.

Of course, it’ll break down eventually, but it’s certainly out of place in the ecosystem. Think about it this way – if it cannot disappear overnight, throwing it on the ground isn’t worth it.

A thin layer of wax is sometimes applied to oranges to delay spoiling. However, it breaks down once the decomposition process starts, but orange peels are still quite sturdy. It’s easy for them to resist decomposition for a period, but they’ll eventually break down after some time.

Can Orange Peels Be Composted?

Composting is easy access to black gold, an incredibly nutritious mix for plants and the soil. Many materials often go into its making, conventionally kitchen or organic waste.

But again, some organic items are out of place in a compost bin. This could be because of their physical composition and decomposition process. For instance, human and animal waste is terrible for a compost pile for apparent reasons, even though they’ll certainly break down.

This organic waste is an excellent addition to any compost pile, contrary to the misconception that orange peels are harmful to microbial activity and have a more extended biodegradation period.

Orange peels, just like other fruits in the citrus family, have a high acidic content, so the misconception isn’t baseless. However, instead of attacking helpful bacteria and fungi, substances like limonene are effective against some pests and bugs found in the soil and around plants.

Limonene is the oil from orange peels, and it kills rodents on contact. However, that’s only when applied in fair amounts to the soil and plants. When you add the orange peels to your compost mix, the decomposition process overpowers the potency of the limonene so that it won’t function as effectively.

But again, composting orange peels is easier when you rip them into smaller pieces. When microbes have smaller surface areas to tackle, they do it faster. As such, decomposition will occur at an accelerated rate.

Now, although the potency of limonene is mitigated when you compost orange peels, there are many other benefits your plants and soil will enjoy when you add the peel to your compost mix.

It’s loaded with nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, and calcium. These materials are essential for impressive plant growth. They also improve the soil.

Shredding your orange peels and composting them is one of the most environmentally friendly methods of disposing of them.

Can You Put Orange Peels Down the Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposal is unarguably a favorite waste disposal method. However, you must keep some food out of it if you don’t want to incur a considerable plumbing debt.

For instance, kitchen waste like pasta, rice, and celery stalks are bad for garbage disposal and will certainly clog your pipes. The same applies to eggshells.

Orange peels can go down the garbage disposal, but moderation is key. Not only can you put them down at the garbage disposal, but the citrus peels also contain a chemical that neutralizes the stench of rotting food.

The high acidic content in these citruses can also cut dissolve grease and other lubricants building up in your pipes.

Now, putting the peels down the drain is a straightforward process, but putting some things in place beforehand is best. You can double-check that your garbage disposal and pipes are ready to accept the peelings.

The size of the orange peels also matters, so cut them into smaller pieces. Because although one might argue that a garbage disposal’s job is to grind kitchen waste into smaller pieces, if the chunks are too large, they can get tangled in the blade and disrupt its functioning.

Can Orange Peels be Used as Fertilizer?

Orange peels are beneficial to plants and the soil because they contain high amounts of nitrogen. The peelings make excellent fertilizer – you can grind them up and spread them around the soil.

Some farmers combine lime, tangelo, and other citrus family members when creating fertilizer. Either way, you’re assured that the mix will give your soil the required amount of nitrogen, boost plant growth, and make them healthy.

There’s a liquid orange peel fertilizer we will show you how to make. It relies on fermentation to activate the needed nutrients for plants and the soil.

You need ten cups of water, three cups of dry or fresh orange peel, a cup of brown sugar, and a mason jar. Ensure the orange peels are chopped into smaller sizes, about an inch or less.

Add the water, orange peels, and sugar into the jar and shake thoroughly. Then, seal it and place it in a cool and dark place for a month. However, you’ll need to check on it daily; open the jar once a day to allow the release of carbon dioxide gas.

This is called burping, caused by the fermentation process when the yeast from fruit peels consumes the sugar. If you don’t allow the air out daily, it can break the glass because of its potency.

After the first month, burping becomes unnecessary, and you can leave the jar slightly attached to the lid. Leave the mixture for the next three months; the alcohol will be converted into vinegar to activate the enzymes present.

Strain the liquid into a container and add the tangible waste to your compost mix or garden.

Can Orange Peels Be Frozen?

Can orange peels be frozen? Well, indeed, they can. Freezing is a reliable way to preserve the zest until you need it, whether for syrups, marinades, or even your soil and plants.

The citrus rind is unarguably flavor-packed with nutrients, which you can store for later use. It’s best to peel it before slicing the fruit, as that’s the easiest way to extract the peel.

Ensure you cut it into smaller pieces, place it in an airtight bag, and store it in the freezer. It’ll remain fresh for three months, but we doubt it would even last that long in your refrigerator.

If you need the zest without the fleshy part of the orange, that can also be arranged. You only have to remove the rind and store the orange in an airtight container.

How Long Can You Store Orange Peels?

Orange peels in your refrigerator can last as long as 3 months, but only when in an airtight container. On the other hand, a thoroughly dried batch can last 2 to 3 years. You can use a food processor or manually dry the peels before packaging them.

To further preserve the flavor and shelf life, we recommend placing the peels in an airtight container before storage.


Orange peels are biodegradable, which means you can compost them. Again, contrary to popular belief, you can also compost them for an extended period, but moderation is the key.

When creating a compost mix, balance is vital. Just as you need a regulated amount of greens and browns, you also need to regulate the number of orange peels you compost.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.