‘Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.’
It’s finally Nov. 2. Since I’m a registered permanent early voter, the fate of the candidates as far as my lone vote is concerned was determined a couple weeks ago.
But something is still really bugging me.
What’s it going to take to make these signs go away — not just until the next election, but for good? The 1970s classic from the Five Man Electrical Band seems to be my constant theme song.
I’ve been voting now for more than 25 years and I have never been influenced by a candidate’s sign. (Okay, not entirely true; I once didn’t vote for a candidate whose sign photo bore a strong resemblance to Jeffrey Dahmer.)
Even after today, it’s not really over. The candidates legally have 10 more days to remove the signs. But if history repeats, many of the signs will linger well after that deadline. And what really happens to all those signs when they’re removed?
Reused? Originally I planned to share some ideas for ways to use leftover signs. Hmmm. They can be reused as … signs. For yard sales. But how many of those does the average household need in a year? I’m sure there are plenty of creative people who could come up with other things, like making them into birdhouses. But that’s not the point.
Recycled? I read this online: “Many residential recycling programs will take all or part of the signs for recycling. Check with your local recycling program to see what can be recycled and how best to do it.”
So I called the City of Mesa to see what they would recycle. The reply? “Our recycling contractor accepts less than 20 percent of election sign material. Your best bet is just to throw them in the trash.”
Last week I spoke to the general manager of Plastics General Polymers in Tempe, a company that recycled election signs in 2008. He told me they might be accepting signs again this year and would call me back.
Still waiting for that call… Nov. 8 update: Just heard back. They won’t be recycling the signs this year because, “it’s just too much to deal with.” Bummer. But can’t say that I blame him.
So what’s the real solution?
Reduce – or get rid of them altogether. Although reusing and recycling might make a tiny dent, the system is broken. Until the candidates themselves commit to reducing the number of signs, or better yet eliminating them altogether, we’re stuck. So to me it seems the best bet is to return the signs directly to the candidate’s office. If they get enough of them back, who knows?
I’m open to suggestions…
Then again, there’s always this: