Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What a waste

They tore up all the azaleas in front of the economics building - a whole truck full - presumably for some kind of new landscaping. I was going to go out there and ask if they were throwing them away and if so whether they could put some to the side for me to drive back to campus and grab, but when I finished a few pressing obligations they were gone.

I really hope they don't just end up in the trash somewhere, but they probably will.


  1. Creative destruction strikes again!

    Om namaha Shivaya

  2. Old Azalea bushes can make for some awesome nearly instant bonsais. It was creative destruction... but it was also unnecessary waste. It's like killing the employees of the buggy whip factories just because cars made buggy's redundant.

    Actually a while back I thought of a Salvation Army for unwanted plants. Whenever I've gone to my local city dump, I've always been astounded by the sheer amount of perfectly viable plants that people throw out. They actually paid the dump to dispose of valuable plants. Unlike with most material goods, plants do not lose value over time. In fact, in many cases, they actually gain value as they mature. A mature Azalea is worth far more than an Azalea in a one gallon pot.

    Here's how it might work. Basically, the landscapers who had no use for those Azaleas could take them to the local Plant Salvation Army (PSA). If the employees decided that there was a good chance that the benefit would be greater than the cost...then they would accept them and give the donors a receipt for tax purposes. The employees would trim the Azaleas and pot them up. Maybe they'd add them to a monthly list that they e-mailed to interested residents. Perhaps the local dump would allow them to salvage valuable plants that people had thrown out.

    So what do you think about this idea? Do you doubt the business model?

    Craigslist has easily done the most to reduce the needless waste of unwanted plants. Each year, when I do my spring garden cleaning, I offer a ton of free succulent cuttings on craigslist. Succulents are pretty great because in many cases they can be easily propagated from cuttings. But if there was a local PSA...would I just take them there instead? Probably.

    If you get a chance you should do a post on the preference revelation problem.


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