Political Signs: What do we do with them after the election?

This sign will be placed in front of Westlake City Hall to direct residents to the campaign sign recycling box.

Driving around Bay Village and Westlake, I am heartened to see so many political signs as it indicates an enthusiasm and energy for participating in this November’s General Election. Voter engagement is critical for our democracy and everyone should take part in our civic duty.

After an election I am always concerned about what happens to those signs which are used for only a matter of weeks. I know plenty end up in the landfill after every election and throwing them in the trash is the last thing people should do. So, what can you do with them?

First and foremost, if the sign is for a local candidate, you should contact them to see if they are collecting their signs back. This is actually quite common with local candidates, and many want their signs back. If giving the sign back is not an option but you know the candidate will likely be up for re-election at some point, please consider storing it for use the next time around. If neither of those are options, the next “greenest” choice is to reuse or repurpose them.

Political signs can be surprisingly useful. Signs can be painted white over and over and reused for different reasons: you can paint “Happy Birthday” on it and use it for family and friends’ birthdays or use it to advertise a yard sale. One idea I read about was to paint them white, then have kids decorate them and stick them in the yard of a grandparent for a birthday or holiday. I also love the idea of using chalkboard paint instead of white paint so that you can use chalk and erase it to reuse over and over with different messages – which I bet would be a big hit with kids.

Another idea is to turn the sign into a box. There are several DIY instructions online that show you how to make them into sturdy storage boxes that can be used for years. The metal stakes can be reused to anchor holiday decorations or used in the garden for plants that require staking. The internet is full of creative, fun, and simple ideas about how you can repurpose your signs.

If you have decided that you have no use for the signs at all, please recycle them rather than putting them into your trash. This year in Bay Village and Westlake, the service departments will be collecting them for recycling. This is a wonderful service that is being provided this year so please consider thanking Mayors Koomar and Clough, and the service departments.

The Bay Village Service Department will collect the signs at the Service Garage at 31300 Naigle Road on Nov. 4, 5, and 6 between the hours of 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. In Westlake, residents may place their signs in a drop-off box near the front entrance of City Hall, 27700 Hilliard Blvd., from Nov. 2 to Nov. 13.

You may also drop your signs off for recycling directly at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District located at 4730 East 131st Street in Garfield Heights Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They have a drop box located in the lobby.

Lastly, please tell your neighbors, family, and friends about how to ensure our political seasons stay “green”! Please let them know their options, as the fewer signs that end up in the landfill, the better. As always, my goal is to provide you with simple steps you can take that may seem small but absolutely make a difference in the health of our environment! Each of us can make a difference with our individual actions. My final plea to you: Please VOTE!

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:20 AM, 10.20.2020