CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Campaign signs that lined the streets last month are gone, but more will return for the City of Charlotte election in July and the general election in November.
New this year, a Charlotte organization is working to make sure the signs are recycled.
Up until this past primary election the City of Charlotte did not have a place where campaign signs could be dropped off for recycling. Thousands of signs ended up in landfills after every election.
The Envision Charlotte Innovation Barn in East Charlotte is taking those unwanted signs and turning them into something useful.
Just like the individual candidates, campaign signs are not the same.
“No, they are not. It would be nice if they were because then there would be an easier way to make sure they are not in a landfill,” said Executive Director of Envision Charlotte, Amy Aussieker.
Some signs are corrugated, while others may have a plastic protective film. The commonality between them is they all should be recycled and there are thousands of them.
“I live 1.4 miles from here so on my way here I bet I saw 50 signs you know just dotted everywhere,” said Aussieker
The Innovation Barn is serving as a central drop-off location. City code says campaign signs must be removed seven days after an election. Code enforcement officers will collect and drop off the signs., then candidates will be given the option to retrieve them. The leftovers will be sent to a facility in Chester.
“So as soon as we have them all in, the ones who don’t want them, they have a buyer at the end who will chip them up and sell the material,” said Aussieker.
Since opening one year ago the Innovation Barn has held true to its name by finding uses for the thousands of soda cans thrown out at the Coca-Cola 600 and Pak-Techs from local breweries.
It’s not a matter of if, but what leaders will think of next.
“As soon as we have a place for things to go, we want to be the drop-off to make sure they don’t go to the landfill,” said Aussieker.
The plan is for the Innovation Barn to remain a central drop-off point for the signs during the city election and general election this year.