More than 3 million kilograms of banners are waiting to be disposed of after the elections

Luc Williams

Expected amount of waste from election materials

PAP: Do you have any knowledge or guess as to how much post-election material may need to be removed after the local elections – especially large banners?

Sławomir Pacek: We don't have official data, but let's assume that about 183,000 people are registered in these elections. candidates and each of them will produce 20 kg of promotional materials. In total, an alarming 3 million kilograms of advertising banners will be put into circulation, which is over 300 garbage trucks of materials that need to be disposed of.

Assessing the difficulty of recycling election materials

PAP: What materials do you consider relatively easy to recycle and which ones pose a challenge?

SP: From a waste management point of view, the best election materials are cardboard materials, which can be easily recycled as long as they are not wet. Banners made from chlorine-containing plastics, such as PVC boards, are more challenging. Unfortunately, in the realities of Polish election campaigns, the latter are the vast majority.

Recommendations for effective recycling

PAP: What recycling methods do you recommend that are actually effective – and which ones would you advise against or do you consider them unsuccessful?

SP: Here you should definitely separate election materials into those that are easy to recycle, such as paper, and those that can be reused, such as PVC boards. As for all paper materials, they can be taken to a waste paper collection, to a paper recycler or simply thrown into the blue container. When it comes to materials containing chlorine, apart from creative solutions, such as using them to insulate buildings, the easiest way is to reuse them in the advertising industry.

Alternative use of banners after the elections

PAP: Politicians mainly declare that they will donate banners to shelters or to insulate or seal agricultural barns. Do you think this is a good idea? If so – is every banner suitable for this?

SP: In our opinion, this is a good idea – donating PVC materials to animal shelters or using them to insulate buildings is a great way to reuse them. This is no coincidence, because these materials insulate very well and protect against rain. They can also be used for all kinds of protection of goods stored outdoors. I also know that banners are used to produce various types of eco-bags and eco-decorations, and more and more often in art.

Creative and unconventional uses of advertising materials

PAP What are the most unconventional ways – domestic or foreign – of dealing with such waste that you have seen or heard about? are there any news in this field?

SP: There are many unconventional ways of reusing advertising materials and in our opinion this is only a positive trend. In addition to creatively using them for insulation, production of decorations or art, a common solution is to donate banners to the front in Ukraine. Advertising banners, due to their durability and resistance to weather conditions, are ideal for securing roofs or other gaps resulting from war. We know that such collections are organized.

Postulates regarding changes in the law and the use of election materials

PAP: The second round of local government elections is still ahead of us. Would you advise – or discourage – the use of certain materials?

SP: At this stage of the campaign and on the eve of the elections, it is difficult to propose real solutions. We must look at it comprehensively and act in the long term so that the problem of election banners consistently decreases with each subsequent election. It is certainly necessary to legislate which materials should be used and that they should be made of easily recyclable materials. For this purpose, we can use the EU action plan on the circular economy, which promotes, among others: ecodesign. (PAP)

Author: Wiktoria Nicałek


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