Photo: Earl Gray via Flickr

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Photo: Earl Gray

Now that the battle is over, what to do with the campaign-sign carcasses littering your lawn? The ubiquitous mini-billboards that were oh-so-relevant until yesterday are no more than a solid waste headache today. Here’s a Three-R Rundown on cleaning up your patriotic mess.

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Reduce. Too late for that — if you’d reduced your campaign signage to zero, you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. But hey, keep it in mind for next time.

Recycle. Most campaign signs these days come in one of three forms: paperboard; corrugated plastic; or “poly-bags” (those are the thin, shiny ones). All three materials are technically recyclable, though the paperboard can pose a problem depending on its coating. Whether you can actually recycle any of them depends largely upon your municipality — so check with local officials.

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So far, large-scale sign-recycling efforts in Texas, Florida, and Maryland have met with mixed success. While one group of Florida counties decided to bag the effort, for instance, Palm Bay plastics recycler Mike Hazlett is beside himself with post-election glee: “We are excited to see just how many campaign signs it will take to make a 350-pound picnic table.” Us too!

Reuse. Here’s where the fun begins: we hereby present eight (in honor of it being ’08 and all) creative campaign-sign uses we’ve seen. Got other ideas? Let us know.

    8. Slide. Everyone knows a campaign is a long, uphill slog — so celebrate the summit by whooshing down the other side on a campaign-sign sled. Just be sure to wear lots of padding.
    7. Side. Who needs vinyl? Show the neighborhood your true colors with siding made from signs.
    6. Build ’em up. Chairs made from campaign signs? We haven’t heard anything that divan since the FedEx furniture fiasco.
    5. Lay ’em down. According to those who’ve gone this route, campaign signs are “very durable, and comfortable to walk on.” And let’s face it, it’s fun to kick politicians in the teeth.
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    4. Make a birdhouse. Or a messenger bag! Plans courtesy of Les Fourmis, a group of Canadians who “get together to express themselves, share, and shake things up a bit.”
    3. Make a donation. At least one group — a Texas-based bird conservancy — wants your corrugated plastic signs, which are apparently all manner of handy when it comes to birds of prey.
    2. Make … other signs. OK, it’s not the most creative idea, but it’s been a long campaign season, and we’re tired.
    1. Keep hope alive. Use them again next time!