Campaign signs are made from a plastic called polyproplene and are usually set in lawns with a set of metal stakes. The metal stakes are recyclable. Melhorn, however, heard from many people that a location in Phoenix could recycle the signs. In her research, she found that many signs are ground, repurposed once and then likely end up in a landfill.
“I’d much rather see these signs reused in a community from candidates if they run again, or repurpose them if absolutely necessary,” Melhorn said.
She’s been finding uses for the signs through word of mouth: The Coconino County Democratic Party is saving them to paint over and use as protest signs while the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra found a use for some of the metal stakes.
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The plastic signs are used like heavy-duty cardboard, and can be used for art projects or as signs for yard sales and birthdays.
“They can easily be cut up and used in decorations for all various holidays like reindeer, Christmas trees, etc. They can be cut into small strips to use in your garden to label your seedlings. You can make boxes out of them, and we provided a little tutorial on how to do that. I talked to someone who wants to use it for underskirting for their mobile home,” Melhorn said.
Former mayoral candidate Charlie Odegaard and every member of the Flagstaff City Council pledged and took back their old signs. Council candidate Eric Nolan went as far as not using campaign signs at all.