Valérie Dufort-Roy | Klish Way
As we drive around our town, we see several “Mask on” and “Black Lives Matter” signs. Soon, we expect to see a massive proliferation of the corrugated plastic lawn signs: Blair, Druker, Gans, Martinez, Quirk and Warren. Hold on!
Are the lawn signs influential in election outcomes? A 2015 Columbia University study found that lawn signs were on par with other low-tech campaign tactics such as direct mail, generating a timid increase of 1.7% percentage points.
What is their environmental impact? A recent communication with Waste Management revealed that “[…] election signs must be placed in the landfill, as they often contain different chemical compounds that may contaminate processing.” In the landfill, they will emit methane and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions for the next thousands of years.
What else can candidates do to show that they are in the run? Aside from truckloads of corrugated plastic lawn signs and piles of plasticized mailers, the candidates can use recycled non-plasticized cardboard or paper to print their lawn signs, mailers, posters to place in windows; all choices that are recyclable and compostable. They can also focus on meeting their constituents on video calls, develop a dynamic Facebook page, Instagram around town, and take their virtual campaign to the next level!
What to do with the corrugated plastic after the election? If candidates elect to use corrugated plastic signs, it would be Eco-smart of them to offer picking up their own lawn signs after the election to re-use.
Some cities have banned election signs from littering everyone’s lawns during election campaigns. While it is not the case in our town, I hope that Del Mar’s candidates will make Eco-friendly choices for 2020. As for the voters, we can choose to refuse the lawn signs, while making sure to cast our vote!