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Don't Throw Away Those Political Signs

New Vision Renewable Energy

Instead of sending used political signs to the landfill, kids in Barbour County are using the signs in an anti-litter campaign.

Ruston Seaman is the president of New Vision Renewable Energy. He visited Philippi Elementary School in Barbour County this week to talk with students about post-political sign season.

“What do you do with stuff you no longer want?” Seaman asked the fourth grade class.

“Throw it away,” they chanted back.

“And then where does it go?”

“THE DUMP!” the kids all replied.

Students there want to cut the flow of political signs bound for the dump. They plan to paint Angry Bird signs with anti-litter messaging to place around the county instead.

“Part of the mission of New Vision is to re-energize community,” Seaman explained. “And doing that without budget dollars can be a challenge, so we always try to repurpose materials that are either going into landfills, wasted, or are sitting otherwise unutilized.”

Credit Ruston Seaman / New Vision Renewable Energy
New Vision Renewable Energy
A recreational space in Philippi, West Virginia, where the walls are made primarily of recycled political signs.

New Vision also uses political signs as a drywall substitute in community recreational spaces, and to make solar lights. The lights are sent around the world to communities with low or no access to electricity. The organization reports that in recent years about 2,800 political signs have been used in 3,900 lights sent to about 40 countries.

“And the great thing is, Republicans and Democrats are working together to bring light to the world,” Seaman said.

New Vision gets some signs from politicians in Barbour County, but the bulk come from other states. Seaman is hoping to source more signs locally.

Glynis Board hails from the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and is based in Wheeling at the First State Capital Building. She’s been reporting full time for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2012. She covers a broad range of topics but focuses on producing and hosting the West Virginia Public Broadcasting's daily news show West Virginia Morning.

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