On Nov. 5, Franklin County voters will head to the polls to weigh in on levies, bond issues and candidates.
In the days and weeks leading up to the election, paper and plastic yard signs will pop up in neighborhoods across the county in support of or opposition to these items.
But once Election Day comes and goes, you might wonder how best to discard those unwanted signs and frames.
In an effort to encourage recycling, SWACO each year is host to an election-sign collection event the Saturday after the election. This year’s event will be 8 to 11 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Bill McDonald Athletic Complex, 4990 Olentangy River Road, Columbus.
During the event, we will accept all types of yard signs, including those made of paper, cardboard, plastic and corrugated plastic, as well as the metal frames that hold them up.
If you can’t make the event, there are other ways to recycle these signs.
Paper and cardboard signs, for example, can be put in your curbside recycling container. Just be sure to remove them from any metal frames because the frames may not go into your curbside container. They may, however, be recycled at facilities that take scrap metal.
You will need to take a little more effort with plastic signs.
Some election yard signs are made of a thin, flexible plastic called “film plastic.” This type of plastic, which also is used to make bread bags, produce bags and dry-cleaning bags, is not accepted in the curbside recycling program because it can wreak havoc at the material recovery facility, getting tangled and causing jams in the sorting machinery.
The equipment must be turned off so the stretchy plastic can be removed safely. Sometimes the equipment gets damaged and needs to be repaired.
Either way, the shutdowns and repairs can result in additional costs, which could be passed along to communities and their residents.
In central Ohio, plastic signs and other film plastics may be dropped off at dozens of grocery stores and other retail locations.
Those stores ship the film plastics to processors that have the equipment to handle them. Once processed, the film plastic is sold to manufacturers, who use it to make new products like crates, pipes, pallets and composite lumber for decks and playgrounds.
Corrugated plastic signs, or the more rigid plastic yard signs, may be recycled only at SWACO’s election-sign drop-off event. If you have one of these signs and can’t make the event, either hang on to it until the next election-sign recycling event or dispose of it with your trash.
So no matter which type of material your yard sign is made of or which candidates and issues you support, remember to vote Nov. 5 and recycle your signs Nov. 9.
For more information on the election-sign collection event, go to www.swaco.org.
For a list of places near you that accept film-plastic yard signs and other film plastics, go to recycleright.org and then to the “Film and Stretch Plastic” landing page.
Ty Marsh is executive director of SWACO. Questions about its operations may be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His office provides this column to ThisWeek Community News.