Opinion: Enough Already with the Green Police

Frank O'Brien
October 28, 2015

As seen in...

Westcoast Condominium Logo

Every week a 30-ton truck rolls down a Kerrisdale alleyway and stops at every apartment and condominium building. At each stop the truck idles as a uniformed representative of the environmental industry emerges and walks into the parking lot. He lifts a small green plastic can and carries it to the front of the truck and attaches it to giant pincers that swing and tip the little can into the cavernous truck, and return it. The driver sprays a cleaner into the plastic can, wipes it out and carries it back to its place in the parking lot.

The truck then lumbers down the alley and the process is repeated at the next building. And so on. And so on. Across Metro Vancouver, the same ritual is being played out thousands of times every day by hundreds of big, fossil fuel-burning trucks.

This is all being done to protect the environment from apple cores and potato peels and the remains of last night’s uneaten cheese tray. The vermin, flies, maggots and the stench that characterize the green bins are, we presume, a way for us to commune with nature.

And if a condominium owner fails to separate and recycle such organics, governments can now hunt them down and punish them. (See this issue’s Strata Living column for tips on how to comply with the rules and avoid penalties.)

This, of course, require inspectors, who, we surmise, also drive from lot to lot to sniff through garbage so the green police can identify and penalize the scofflaws.

Soon, a hotline will be set up so neighbours can report on neighbours who may have slipped a mushy orange into the waste can.

Starting this month, Vancouver condominium residents are also required to separate all their containers for recycling. Someone is watching, probably in that second squad car in the alley. Fines are imminent. Resistance is futile.

Well, we say, enough already with the environmental despotism and the bloated bureaucracy behind it.

The current zeal towards fines and public shaming (if we see one more of those tattletale recycling commercials we will throw a banana peel into the street) is making society meaner, not greener.

Lighten up, people. Freedom starts with a wilted bouquet tossed into the trash, and nobody to report you for it.

Frank O'Brien
Frank O'Brien is the editor of Western Canada's biggest commercial real estate newspaper, Western Investor, as well as a contributing editor at West Coast Condominium, real estate contributor to Business in Vancouverand a regular media commentator on real estate investment.