When the election party’s over: Recycle those campaign signs

By Julie Thibodeaux      

Once the election’s over, some die-hard supporters may keep a candidate’s sign as a souvenir. However, thousands end up in the trash.   

Marilyn May, director of the Environmental Co-Op, a nonprofit recycling center in Terrell, says there’s no reason for the material to be wasted. “It’s unfortunate but there are a huge amount of signs that go into the landfill and it’s all recyclable material,” she said.     

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The city of Dallas accepts the signs in its collection bins as long as the metal or wooden stakes are removed. However, many cities in the Metroplex say their recycling collection companies are not able to process the material. The signs, which can be made from laminated cardboard, vinyl or increasingly, corrugated plastic, can get lost in the massive sorting process required for a large municipal population. In addition, the metal stakes can jam the machinery.     

For the Nov. 6 election, May said she will work with cities to provide bins for collecting the signs. She had success with it last spring when the city of Allen contacted her about recycling signs after the May primary. She provided a 6-yard bin and the city hosted a collection drop off day in June. Residents filled up the container, accumulating a 1,800-lb-haul.     “We were extremely surprised. We hadn’t even planned on it,” she said. “It was an extremely good last minute effort.”    

Donna Kliewer, waste services manager for the city of Allen, said the Republicans won hands down for the most signs recycled.  “We had all Republican signs and no Democratic signs,” joked Kliewer, who admitted publicity spread through a conservative grapevine.   If curbside recycling isn’t a option in your community, a few private recycling companies will take the signs. See the list below: 

City of Dallas Accepts: Cardboard, laminated cardboard and corrugated plastic election signs as long as metal and wooden stakes are removed. Drop-Off: Blue recycling roll carts or free-standing bins Website: www.dallascityhall.com/sanitation/faqs_recycling.html Phone: 214-670-4475  

Environmental Co-Op, Kaufman County Accepts: Cardboard, laminated cardboard and corrugated plastic signs. The nonprofit also accept the metal stakes. In addition, the recycling center will partner with cities to offer a drop-off collection site in their community. Drop-Off: 1100 Airport Road, Terrell  Website: www.trashbusters.org Phone: 972-524-0007 

Greenstar, Fort Worth and Garland Accepts: Clean cardboard, laminated cardboard and corrugated plastic signs. Separate metal stakes from signs. The company will pay by the pound for large quantities of corrugated plastic signs. Drop-Off: 1100 NE 23rd Street, Fort Worth and 2610 McCree Road
Garland Website: www.greenstarrecycling.com Phone: Fort Worth, 817-626-4949; Garland, 972-926-4298 

Recycle Revolution, Dallas Accepts: Cardboard and corrugated plastic campaign signs. However, they will not accept laminated cardboard. They will accept the metal stakes for recycling. Drop Off: 1703 Chestnut St in Deep Ellum and 10137-A Shoreview Road in Lake Highlands Website: www.recyclerevolutiondallas.com Phone: 214-566-3025     


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Julie Thibodeaux, covers environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living for Green Source DFW. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Contact her at Julie@greensourcedfw.org.



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