Ask Eartha: What to do with Political Yard Signs?

 In Ask Eartha

Dear Eartha,
Can I recycle my political yard signs? – Jason, Summit Cove

Recycle corrugated plastic political yard signsJason, thanks so much for your question. As we can all see from the signs dotting lawns across Summit County, election season is in full swing. And all those signs add up to lots of material that we’d rather not add to our landfill. So, what’s a voter to do?

First, reuse
My first recommendation is to contact your candidate and ask if they are collecting their signs. Many candidates re-use their signs for future election cycles. If you can’t remember where you picked up your sign, look up your candidate’s Facebook page and send them a quick message.

Ballot measures are a different challenge. These signs are often used for just one election, and they’re typically not collected for reuse. But, there’s no reason you can’t get crafty at home.

One of my favorite ways to reuse a political sign is to spray it with chalkboard paint. I cut it into strips and use them as signs to identify vegetables in my garden. And, the metal stakes make a great trellis. The chalkboard paint method also works well to make yard sale signs, kids’ projects and other crafts around the home.

reuse or recycle political yard signsA quick Pinterest search will give you some more ideas. The craftiest of re-users have been known to make birdhouses, bicycle fenders and panniers, or even yard decorations. With the holidays just around the corner, I’m already imagining Santa’s sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. It’s amazing what a little paint and an X-ACTO knife can lead to!

Then, recycle
I realize that not all political signs will be scooped up for reuse and crafts. So, I was delighted to learn that the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) is partnering with the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco for a temporary yard sign recycling program. Dates vary and are limited.

Corrugated plastic political signs, along with the metal stakes (which should be separated from the signs), will be accepted for recycling at the following locations:

  • Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center (300 Main Street in Frisco): drop off signs any day Tuesday, Nov. 6 through Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Breckenridge Town Hall (150 Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge, leave in the Sustainability Office, lower level): drop off signs weekdays only from Tuesday, Nov. 6 through Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please do not leave signs outside these locations, as they will blow away and become trash. Also, take note: yard signs are not accepted at the Summit County drop-off recycling centers or in curbside recycling.

Thank you, Jason, for seeking out alternatives to trashing your political yard signs. If you can, reuse those signs instead of recycling. As with any product, reuse not only keeps it out of our waste stream, it creates even less environmental impact and requires less energy than recycling.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at info@highcountryconservation.org.

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