Dear Urban Diplomat: My neighbour roots through my recycling bin. Can I ask her to stop?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour is a total eco-Nazi. She leads an enviro group and hosts a regular Skype chat on carbon footprint reduction strategies. The other day, I put my blue bin out for pickup, then watched through the blinds as she wandered over, plucked out my hair dryer and some vinyl records and placed them on our porch. My husband had to restrain me from flinging open the door and throttling her. I want to say something, but how?
—Recycling Rage, Cabbagetown
Try breathing through your nose. I get your annoyance—a blue bin breach can feel as invasive as a stranger rifling through your medicine cabinet. You could confront her and argue that the contents of your bin are private property, but you’d be wrong (they actually belong to the city once they’re on the curb), and doing so won’t make your hair dryer any more recyclable. You could explain that the city removes offending items at its material recovery facility anyway, making her pre-emptive efforts wholly unnecessary. Or you could start rooting through her bin and see how she likes the scrutiny. But why bother? Instead, try adhering to the rules. That’ll get her off your back and out of your bin. If that fails, try therapy. Not even the most egregious case of blue bin whistle-blowing warrants a restraining order.
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