GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Every year, after election season election signs disappear from yards.
The Kent County Recycling and Education Center has a special bin out back just for yard signs that are made of corrugated plastic. And recycling the signs is one alternative to just throwing them away.
The city will not pick up campaign signs in regular curbside recycling bins, unless they are the flimsy plastic heads, separated from the metal. The curbside recycling materials goes through a machine that the signs or metal can get stuck in.
When anything goes to the recycling center it is separated and shipped to a multitude of different processors like a paper mill, plastic company or metal processor.. The size of most election signs alone makes them too big for most bins, according to resource recovery specialist Lauren Westerman.
"Each sign has a plastic piece and a metal piece, both recyclable just neither in your curbside bin," Westerman said.
Another option, if you have a more local office or a representative's sign, The Kent County Democrats area also directing and collecting some signs to return to candidates in case they would like to run again.
Their office manager, Sarah Woolsey said, "We are collecting signs at our office for certain candidates especially local candidates because people will reuse them cycle to cycle. Local candidates can call our office since most don't have their own office and we talk them through how to get their signs returned if they want them."
The Kent County Republican Committee did not indicate if they do similarly.
The Kent County Democrats take the presidential and extra signs usually to the recycling centers drop off locations and encourage residents who can to go there first.
The Recycling and Educational Center are planning to have the bins out until the end of November.
Other fun ways you can re-use the signs are turning them into target practice if you like to shoot, repainting them with a different message, and of course many people just save them for memories.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.