Conservation is a dominant topic in this election campaign, but how green is the campaign itself?

A Cape Breton councillor says plastic election signs send the wrong message.

In this fall election campaign, signs dot the landscape like crocuses in spring.

The different party colours are represented, but one city councillor is pointing out that election signs themselves are not very green.

"Plastic on the outside, styrofoam on the inside, you really can't recycle them," said Cape Breton Regional Coun. Amanda McDougall. "So what happens is essentially, they end up in the landfill."

Cape Breton University political scientist Tom Urbaniak says signs are an intrinsic part of elections.

"Election signs are part of the hoopla, and the party atmosphere leading up to an election," Urbaniak said.

With voter turnout low enough as it is, there could be even more loss of interest if busy corners like this one weren't populated with placards.

Urbaniak says more interest could be generated if candidates were forced to use different means of getting out their message.

"That means more door to door, that means more excitement on social media, that means more public events and assemblies," Urbaniak said.

In a campaign that's seen the federal leaders in heated debate on all things green, some are wondering whether the messages and the ways they are being spread are contradicting one another.

"Green is a big topic," Urbaniak said. "The election itself is not green! We still have leaders flying around with one or two planes. We certainly have considerable use of fossil fuels in the process of campaigning."

Urbaniak predicts the next election will be more environmentally friendly -- especially for those campaigning on green platforms.

He says banning election signs in public has been done elsewhere in Canada, but outlawing them on private property would be tricky.

Governments could find a way around that, though.

"(They) could impose a kind of tax on election signs on private property," Urbaniak said. "So, each time you put an election sign up, you would pay into a green fund."

This new concern over the environment is a sign of the times that could have an impact over a long-standing election tradition.

"If we're going to ban them for everybody else, why not ourselves?" McDougall said. "So, I just took it upon myself to ask the question in council and at least engage in the process."