Most banners are printed on a type of vinyl that is recyclable, but unfortunately, since they aren’t labeled, it’s difficult to actually get them recycled. Here are a few ways to reuse them if your local recycling station doesn’t accept them:
- Donate them to Gorilla Sacks. The company gathers mass quantities of banners and has them all recycled.
- In the San Francisco area, Scrap will come pick up larger donations from your doorstep, or you can drop any quantity off yourself.
- You can also ship banners to GovEnergy for recycling. They will recognize your business as a recycling partner on their website!
- Send them to a place that makes bags. Whole Foods has recycled their store banners into green shopping bags; various companies have had their banners made into wallets, zipper bags, and more. Since a banner is basically just strong plastic with a woven mesh inside, it’s easy to sew. If you like, Mission Wear will use your banners and (for a fee) make a tote bag or messenger bag just for you, or Prior Life will turn your banners into almost anything you like.
- Use them as tarps. Vinyl banners are typically stronger than store-bought tarps, and they already have grommets along the top and bottom – perfect for covering your trailer.
- Let your kids do a fun art project with them. Acrylic paints and Sharpie markers work on most banners, so flip yours over to the back and let your kids get creative.
- Get super-creative yourself! For example, Yanko Design Studio has created gorgeous “Living Pixel Lamps” using banners. If you’re not creative yourself, try asking your friends, family or neighborhood school if they would like to have the banners for craft projects.
And don’t forget, you can get creative with your banner design in order to make it reusable. For an annual event that’s held at the same time each year, leave off the dates and just say the week instead. For example, instead of “October 6-7,” say “First weekend in October,” and you’ll be able to reuse your banner for years to come, keeping more waste out of the landfills.