As soon as Nashville's elections ended this month, thousands of campaign signs became just about worthless to the candidates overnight.
But for the first time, a big batch of those signs will be recycled instead of taken to the dump.
"Our team was wondering where all those political signs go that are at the voting sites. We thought: Why not pick up those signs and do something productive with them and keep them out of the landfill?" said Jennifer Westerholm, in the Division of Sustainability within the Department of General Services.
"In years past, the signs were simply thrown away and that was sort of the path of least resistance. But this year we realized how wasteful that was."
The signs — which are usually made of corrugated plastic and metal wiring — swarm local polling places.
Metro isn't able to recycle all of them, as voting takes place at numerous sites, many volunteered by local organiztions.
But Westerholm says about 1,000 were collected at three major polling places that are maintained by the Department of General Services — the Fulton campus downtown, the Bellevue Library and the Southeast Community Center.
Now that #Nashville elections are over, where do the political signs go? To keep them out of the #landfill, Socket is separating the plastic and metal. Corrugated plastic will go to @TurnipGrnReuse & metal will be reused or recycled (but not in your #Curby bin)! pic.twitter.com/0S6nyP32qv
— Socket (@SocketNashville) September 19, 2019
The city will sell the metal for scrap through its online bidding website and donate the plastic signs to the nonprofit Turnip Green Creative Reuse, which offers supplies and raw materials on a pay-what-you-can basis to teachers and artists.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to accurately describe how Turnip Green Creative Reuse sells its materials.