Signs are a great visual communications tool for many things: announcing a new product, promoting a sale or providing directions during a construction project. But when these timely messages are no longer useful, what can you do with the sign?
There are many ways to make your business greener by reusing and recycling old signs and signage materials. Aluminum, cardboard and most plastics can simply be put in a mixed curbside recycling container. Requirements and guidelines for curbside recycling vary from city to city, so check the guidelines for your specific area. If curbside pickup isn’t available, you can search for the nearest recycling center at Earth911.com.
Cardboard signs can be put in most curbside recycling bins. If the recycling is separated between paper, plastic and metal, cut off any plastic zip ties or metal grommets from the cardboard. Cardboard signs can also be cut up and used for garden mulch or a weed barrier under a layer of dirt.
Aluminum Signs are highly recyclable. They can simply be melted down at a recycling facility and reused. Recycling aluminum requires only five percent of the energy used to make new aluminum. It can be recycled infinitely with no loss in quality. In fact, 75 percent of all aluminum produced since 1888 is still in use today.
Most plastic signs can also be sent to a recycling facility or easily repurposed. A professionally printed sign looks best for a business establishment, but you can reuse these signs for less important personal use. Print out a Garage Sale announcement and tape it to an old plastic sign to quickly make a sturdy neighborhood announcement. They can also be easily painted with new messaging.
Vinyl banners are an excellent choice for sturdy outdoor use. However, they take time to break down in a landfill once they have served their purpose and are thrown away. Instead of throwing out a vinyl banner, consider some of the following creative uses:
- Banners make excellent tarps for lawn maintenance or covering building materials.
- Old banners could be donated to a school to use as a tarp for arts and crafts.
- With a little sewing work, old banners can be made into reusable and sturdy bags for lawn clippings or laundry.
- They can also be sewn into a weatherproof outdoor cushion or ground seat. Cut the banner into two large circles or squares, fill with layers of newspaper and sew shut.