City View: Shawn Star April 13th, 2015

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Raccoons in your bins? Excuse me whilst I attempt to care

City_View_columnZombies. Robots. Big brother.

There’s always a zeitgeist of fear — a bandwagon all the ‘fraidy cats like to jump on.

But now the City of Toronto has thrown out all traditional notions of scaredom in place of a new furry evil: the raccoon.

Details are fuzzy, but it is believed they lurk in the darkness of night and steal from us that which we were already done with and had disposed of. The waddling, over-sized, dumpster rodents need to be stopped, we’re told.

So what better way to stop the intellectual beasts, known to be adaptive and fast learners, than to design a new bin for them to break into?

Featuring all the technology of a twisty thing, a turny thing and a pully thing, plus a new coat of green paint, the larger-than-current-size green bins unveiled April 9 are said to thwart the bandits and protect the stuff you no longer had use for.

The end result? Officially: your household waste is now safe from their filthy little paws. The truth: the ever-evolving night urchins, unable to break in to the new and improved bins, will not just be hungry, but angry too.

The Internet has annoyingly coined a new fad word for this mixed state of being: “hangry”. The question now is whether keeping our waste from straying out of bins and along the edge of driveways (or into the bellies of the beasts) is worth the tradeoff of creating hangry raccoons. Or, whether having invested city resources (read: money) into creating and developing new bins because we’d rather not re-bag garbage, is worth the tradeoff of potentially creating — gasp! — zombie raccoons aimlessly scouring for morsels in our alleyways at night, chanting “graaaaains.”

This, all at the risk of the raccoons adapting and learning how to break into the new bins eventually anyway, makes it not worthwhile.

Let’s stop throwing money at Band-Aid solutions for mild inconveniences. We’re not forming a task force to locate socks gone missing in laundry. We’re not creating positions for bylaw enforcement officers to ticket your coworkers for taking your food from the lunchroom fridge. So if a raccoon makes a meal of your garbage, just re-bag it.

Your convenience be damned. Long live the raccoon.