By Barbara Kessler

Recycling. It works for campaign slogans. Now the government of Florida figures it can work for those accumulating campaign signs as well.

The state is encouraging local entities to come up with innovative plans in hopes of recycling 75% of the signs that line local lanes and thoroughfares in the run up to the election Nov. 4, according to the Environmental News Service.

By encouraging candidates and citizens to recycle the signs instead of trashing them, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be working toward its mandate to reduce waste heading for landfills by 75 percent by 2020.

State legislators passed a law setting that benchmark earlier this year. Reusing campaign signs is just one of many ideas that state officials will have to try, said Mary Jean Yon, the DEP’s director of waste management.

In 2006, the Florida DEP ran four pilot programs that collected used campaign signs. Three of the programs used collection sites; the fourth was supposed to engage high school students in the collection, but it was thwarted by Pinellas County (St. Petersburg/Clearwater) code officials who nabbed the signs first and took them to the community group, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, for recycling.

Keep Pinellas Beautiful reported that they were able to recycle 100 percent of the signs. Floridians wanting more information can start with their local recycling coordinator or visit Florida’s recycling website.

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