May 8, 2023 - Election

Scoop: Chicago launches new election sign recycling program

Election signs in Lakeview. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation is trying something new this year with all the election signs that amassed after the April runoffs.

Why it matters: Instead of getting dumped into a landfill, tons of signs from last month's election got recycled, city officials said.

Yes, but: Last month, commissioner Cole Stallard had his staff collect all election signs on public property, separate the plastic from the metal, and recycle it, he tells Axios.

  • Department officials report it diverted 4.47 tons of waste from landfills.

Be smart: Putting garbage in a landfill requires tipping fees, which cost taxpayers money.

  • But if we recycle waste, especially metal, the city can make money.
  • That's a bonus on top of the ecological benefits.

What they're saying: "We didn't announce [the sign recycling] in April, because we wanted to see how it would go first," Stallard says.

  • "It was not an easy task, but now we have a system in place."

What's next: Stallard wants to expand the program next election cycle, so residents can recycle signs.

  • "I want to see if I can make a place you can take them to," he says. "I'll try to work with the aldermen's office, or maybe Streets and San can have a facility or dumpster dedicated to it so you can come throw your signs in there."

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