We see a situation differently and would like to describe it to get feedback
We share a house with a large backyard. One corner of the backyard has a
concrete patio with two benches. One of us is concerned with plants,
gardening, conservation and recycling. That person ate an orange and
scattered nine pieces of the peel in a flower bed next to the patio. His
rationale was that the peels were biodegradable. The other of us is
concerned with rules, order and appearance. That person felt the orange
peels should have been placed in a trash can. His rationale is that the
peels are ugly.
We're cool and the best of friends. This didn't set off WWIII. But after
talking about it, we are curious as to what others think is proper. We tried
to put this into newsgroups that would tend to favor one and the other
In an out of the way place, put some orange peals and watch how long
they take to "bioήgrade."
They are about as bad as plastic.
This may help you in making a decision, which is right or wrong is up
Even though the peels are biodegradable, just scattering them on the
ground isn't the best way to decompose them. They'd probably be better
off in a compost heap - otherwise they'd probably attract insects,
animals, etc. that might be bad for the flowers. That would satisfy the
environmentalist and the rationalist, wouldn't it?
I don't think it's necessarily "rude" to scatter orange peels in your
own flowerbed, but since you share the flowerbed, you have to reach a
compromise - it seems like there are ways to recycle the peels and keep
both people happy.
In alt.fan.miss-manners on Fri, 16 Apr 2004 02:45:03 GMT "Alan Bell"
You're both wrong. :) They shouldn't litter up a flower bed, and
they shouldn't be thrown away**. If you have a big yard, there may be
room for a compost heap.
**I throw such stuff away, and it doesn't bother me, but your friend
doesn't want to. OTOH, you can't make a compost heap from one orange
(Isn't there some other way to do this for small quantities, like
digging a hole, throwing the stuff in and refilling the hole? No one
ever suggests this and I haven't tried it.)
30 years ago, for reasons of helping Nature, I threw either a banana
peel or some eggshell behind some bushes at Valley Forge. I think it
was eggshell and people later told me that they didn't degrade well.
OTOH, the bushes were very thick and evergreen and I doubt anyone ever
saw the eggshell. So did I do the right thing or not? (Maybe I'll go
back and see if it is still there.)
FWIW, there are a bunch of woods behind my house, and kids used to sit
there sometimes at night and throw aluminum cans where they sat. I
clean that part of the woods (which is visible to no one without
working ones way through 50 feet of brush and woods) maybe once every
10 years, and for all that talk about aluminum lasting a long time,
after 5 years the cans have several holes in them, and I'm thinking
the whole can is thinner than it was.
If emailing, please let me know whether
or not you are posting the same letter.
Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
Orange peels randomly scattered around *are* ugly. They
look like someone threw trash in your flowers, unless your
flowers form some kind of tight ground cover and the peels
would be underneath them, or the peels are in very tiny
pieces and therefore mix in well with mulching, or are in
some other way made to look not like trash.
The peels don't have to be placed in a trash can, though --
the peels won't biodegrade in much of a useful fashion just
scattered around on the dirt. If he starts a compost pile,
though, he could toss the peels on there and do some good.
Or he could dig a little hole and bury the peels, letting
them slowly biodegrade out of sight.
As to which is more polite, which I assume is why you asked
AFMM, well, the polite thing to do is for both of you to
discuss how you want to handle biodegradable trash and come
up with a plan that works well for both of you. I hope
some of my suggestions above are of use to you in that
"The sky is blue because Martians puke sapphires.
I heard John Glen say this on Fresh Air."
-- N. Jill Marsh
When I was a kid on going camping trips, I remember that someone would
inevitaby throw down an apple core, orange peel, or some other
biodegradable trash. The counselors would always make them pick it up,
pointing out that while it may be biodegradable, its also unsightly, and
visual pollution counts, too. Their rule was that we could either pack it
out of the woods with the trash, or bury it, but either way the next guy
down the trail got to see the woods free of trash, biodegradable or not.
So if your neighbor wants to bury the orange peels, then by all means,
leave them outside. But the next person shouldn't have to look at something
that visually isn't too different from a candy wrapper.
If the objective is nutrient recycling, put it in a place that is condusive
to that, like a compost pile OR if the peels were sufficiently small
chunks, tilling them into the flower bed may be acceptable. Just chucking
9 hunks of peel in a flower bed and expecting Mother Nature to take care of
it is tacky. A lot of things are biodegradable, but you really need the
bio- stuff and everything that comes with it. If not, you're just setting
up for a long time timetable and an orange peel on a long timetable, isn't
anything but garbage.
if the objective is to be able to put debris where ever convenient, then
buy the person an outdoor trashcan.
also, some people have said snails are attraced to orange peels.
The orange peel is good for the flowerbed and therefore, that was the best
place to dispose of them.
Have you considered a compost heap? The ugliness would all be in one place
Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2 /
On Fri, 16 Apr 2004 02:45:03 GMT, Alan Bell wrote:
Both of you are right. Orange peels are both biodegradable and
ugly (when thrown on flower beds). However, you do not deal with
the one characteristic by throwing them onto the flower beds nor
with the other by throwing them in the trash.
The neat-freak should buy the eco-type a plastic compost box.
This will place the neat-freak on the moral high ground, from
which he may then sermonize (or declaim) on the theme that merely
throwing biodegradable wastes around the landscape hardly
constitutes responsible environmental awareness. If the eco-type
squawks, tell 'im that the Internet said so.
Lots of stuff that is biodegradable is, nonetheless, garbage. Garbage
scattered in flowerbeds isn't compost. Orange peels can be put on a
compost pile or in the garbage. Imagine if the question had to do with
an unfiltered cigarette -- quite biodegradable and possibly good
compost material, but aesthetically noxious.
The question really is if one can be agreeable in avoiding things that
irritate those around one.
The peel-scatterer seems to have good intentions but should establish a
composting area or container for live waste materials rather than
distributing them willy nilly. The uncontained debris could attract
unwanted creatures to the area long before it degrades and becomes part
of the soil.
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