If you like eating bananas, you know how quickly their peels can accumulate in your trash can and how they attract annoying fruit flies. Is there a more environmentally friendly way of disposing of them?
Yes, there is: Compost them. In this article, I will explain what they contribute to a compost pile and the best way of adding them.
Adding banana peels to your compost pile can help contribute calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium, and sodium to the soil, all of which are essential for blooming and fruiting plant growth.
In addition, banana peels contribute healthy organic material, which helps the compost retain water and makes it lighter when applied to your plants.
For these reasons, we definitely recommend adding them to your compost pile.
How Long Do they Take to Decompose?
If the conditions are optimal, banana peels should be completely decomposed in about 3 to 4 weeks. The bin will get heated throughout the composting process, and the peels will readily break down.
How to Speed Up the Process
A whole banana peel lying on the ground will take months to years to decompose. But in your compost bin, they’ll decompose faster, especially if you slice them up before adding them into the compost.
Rotating your composter will also help speed up the process. Aerating the compost adds a steady supply of oxygen, which enables bacteria to break down matter more quickly.
The most efficient way to add the peels is to chop them into tiny pieces before putting them into a kitchen crock with the rest of your food leftovers.
When you add this mixture to your compost pile, mix them in well. This will speed up the decomposition process and also help to prevent fruit flies that tend to be attracted to the smells of bananas.
Brown or Green Material?
Even though bananas become brown when left out, they are still considered “green” material. This is because they supply nitrogen to the composting process.
Remember that the brown-to-green ratio of your pile should be roughly 2:1. Therefore, after you add your banana peels, make sure to add some more brown material to maintain the correct ratio.
Remember to Remove the Sticker
Remove those little sticky labels that are placed on food items before adding citrus fruits and vegetables to the compost.
It’s easy to overlook them because of their size, but it is important to keep them out of your compost bin. They are usually constructed of vinyl or plastic and are not biodegradable, despite being classified as food grade. In fact, these tiny stickers are so tenacious that even municipal composters struggle to break them down, resulting in compost contamination.
Banana Peels as Soil Amendments
Many people are curious whether banana peels may be utilized as a direct fertilizer by adding them as a soil amendment.
Many gardening websites may recommend this. However, I recommend against it. While banana peels may be used as fertilizer and will not hurt your plants, it is preferable to compost them first.
Burying the banana peels in the soil underneath a plant can slow the process of breaking down the peels and releasing their nutrients to the plant. Buried banana peels degrade considerably more slowly than those placed in a properly kept compost pile that is stirred and aerated on a regular basis.