Political campaign yard signs in different hues of red and blue decorate homeowner lawns and highway corners each fall. But Hannah White, a communications administrator for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, said that the ones left up post-election can begin to create a number of political and nonpolitical problems.
“When those signs are left on the roadways, it can contribute to litter, it’s a bit of an eyesore and it can be hazardous to motorists,” White said.
In Ohio, homeowners’ associations and some local communities mostly govern campaign yard signs, and a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision limited what sorts of rules communities could pass pertaining to yard signs.
But properly getting rid of leftover yard signs can also quickly become a headache, White said. Banners made of different materials have to be discarded in different ways.
Solid Waste Authority, local communities to host recycling events after Election Day
SWACO is set to host its annual yard sign recycling event Saturday to encourage individuals and campaigns to recycle this election cycle’s signs. From 8 a.m. through noon, Franklin County residents can bring paper and plastic signs and detached metal stands to be recycled for free at 4990 Olentangy River Rd.
“When you recycle those election signs, you are reducing your reliance on the landfill, and you are helping to keep your community safe and clean,” White said.
The event has become an after-election routine for SWACO, and last year, more than 3,500 signs were collected. Candidates themselves have come in previous years to pick up their own campaign signs for future reuse, she said.
But the 2022 election cycle is the first time Grove City will hold its own recycling event.
Linda Rosine, an environmental coordinator with Grove City Parks and Recreation, said when SWACO came to them about the event, it was an easy decision. “It was like, ‘Wow. Why didn’t we think about this last year?’” she said in an interview.
For signs in the Grove City public right-of-way — such as between the curb and the sidewalk — public works street workers begin to clear signs in the days following the election. Rosine said when she was driving around Wednesday morning, she had already noticed around 30 gone from nearby a polling precinct.
“It’s one of those things you don’t really think about,” Rosine said — at least until you notice the rows of signs.
Grove City will collect residents’ signs through Monday, Nov. 14, at 3262 Ventura Blvd. More information is available here on the Grove City government’s website.
Bexley, Upper Arlington, and New Albany are also partnering with SWACO, White said.
For residents around central Ohio who can’t make any of the central Ohio events, White said the general rule with yard signs is that the paper ones — without their metal stands — go in curbside recycling, plastic ones go to film recyclers, and the metal stands themselves go to scrap metal recyclers.