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Published on September 10th, 2008 | by Jennifer Lance

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My Obama Yard Sign is a Union-Made, Recyclable Plastic Bag

obama yard signI’ve never put a campaign yard sign in my lawn, so when a friend offered an Obama sign, I decided to join the campaign (even though there is a slim chance I may vote for Cynthia McKinney). I envisioned my high school government teacher Mr. Zeigler’s basement walls covered in plywood signs from Kennedy to Dukakis, as well as a cabin on Southfork Mountain that was sided with these sturdy signs.  I thought maybe I would start a historical collection of campaign signs documenting my children’s life through the candidates I voted for in their youth.  You can imagine my disappointment when my plastic bag Obama sign arrived.

Oh, my plastic bag Obama sign is not just any old plastic bag banned throughout the world for shoppers, but it is a union-made, recyclable bag. This bag proudly displays the union USWA label local 3210, as well as a gentle reminder to “please recycle”.  I’m not sure what steelworkers are doing making plastic bags (or if I am reading the label correctly, perhaps it is an endorsement?), and I wish the sign was made from post-consumer recycled plastic content.

union-made obama yard signWill my Obama plastic bag sign withstand the fall wind and rain and make it to the November elections? Where will it end up when the election is over?  Will it be reused in a trash can, taken to the recycling center, upcycled in a weaving project, or used in the garden?

If you knew what a remote place I live in, you would find it funny I would put a campaign sign in the yard for the non-voting deer population.  I thought of putting the sign at the top of our quarter-mile driveway where five cars a day might see it, but then I worried it would become a place for target practice once rifle hunting season begins in a couple of weeks. The sign has become something of a joke amongst our “out-of-town” friends, and it has been photographed on more than one occasion.

My Obama plastic bag has me thinking…What would be the most eco-friendly campaign sign? Yesteryear’s plywood signs were certainly chock-full of chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and plastic bags are certainly a cheaper option.  What about a hemp canvas sign?  I’d like to see the candidate with nerve to campaign on sustainable hemp. That might truly be an environmental candidate!

Images: Jennifer Lance

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About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play (http://ecochildsplay.com) "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog: http://reallynatural.com



  • Ken Holmes

    Actually, the plastic bags sign is a MUCH better environmental choice than hemp, cloth, or wooden signs. Plastic uses very little resources to manufacture. And shipping of your sign was also much easier on the environment since it weighs less – uses less fuel to transport, creates less pollution. Most campaign signs I've seen have been heavy paperboard coated in plastic to withstand the weather. Certainly more weight and materials there. Paper is much more labor and resource intensive than plastic. When you consider that they probably had these signs printed by the hundreds of thousands, their light weight saved lots of fuel and caused far less pollution than if they were made of something heavier.

  • http://www.globalhemp.com Global Hemp

    There were only 2 presidential candidates who are pro-hemp: Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Ralph Nader, who is running for president again this year is pro-hemp.

  • http://www.hempforvictory.blogspot.com Kenyon

    Cyntha Mckinney is VERY PRO HEMP – I ought to know, I was her PR person in London last year this time. Her activities are archived at http://www.hempforvictory.blogspot.com – put her name in the key word search function, ought to be top left of blog page – under google search bar – and you will pull up the history of this woman. She was amazing!

    I am one white man trying to get her into the White House – her honesty and experience are 2 key reasons – she is also a better bet for the military (I am ex Navy) – as her state is a big military state and she knows the reality involved.

    Kucinich I could say a lot of negative things about, in fact I just met one of his aides last month. Ron Paul is OK, but I do not see a great support for hemp or the environment coming from him.

    BTW, check out the Sept issue of the Ecologist, it has hemp and a story about the dangers of soya. They interviewed McKinney whilst she was in London, so maybe they will publish a story for next issue.

  • http://www.hempforvictory.blogspot.com Kenyon

    Plastic is better than hemp? I have my hemp bag right here, and I can say I have put it to heavy use for 18 months, that's about 500 plastic bags I saved and it hardly has a scratch. It is the same one Laura Sevier of the Ecologist mentioned in her Sept article on hemp. And if I do throw it away, it will not be an eyesore, in fact, it can be recycled into paper -which was what we did with hemp for hundred of years.

    Cynthia McKinney has one of these bags by the way, she got one the day I introduced her to Baroness Jenny Tonge, who also got one. I'd rather have these two with it than Kate Moss or any of the other cotton industry whores who do drugs. In fact, I refuse to sell this bag to undesirables. For more baq info, check it out at http://www.hempforvictory.blogspot.com or in the article by me in the 2008 Issue #1 of the Journal of Industrial Hemp.

  • Megan

    They are made out of plastic so that they will withstand the weather. You can purchase ones made out of cardboard for $2.50 at http://storebarackobama.com if its really that big of deal. And as for when your done using it, there are tons of ways to re-use plastic bags but I’m not sure you’d find very many ways to re-use a cardboard sign since they come covered front and back.

  • Joe

    What were you doing in your high school government teacher's basement?

  • http://ecochildsplay.com Jennifer Lance

    Joe, good question, that does sound pretty bad. He had our whole Constitution team over for a victory party when we won the local competition. Unfortunately, we lost at states and didn't get to go to DC.

    I recently checked out a plastic bag McCain sign in Ohio. It was not made by a labor union or asked to be recycled. All it said was "paid for by Ohio Republicans".

    My plastic bag Obama sign has torn.

  • Erika Carlson

    so, what about the metal part inside that holds it up? is it recyclable with metal cans and such? Anyone know?

    Thanks,

    Erika

  • http://ecochildsplay.com Jennifer Lance

    Erika, I don't know, but I will ask at the recycling center. I think it can go in the scrap metal or steel cans bin.

  • http://link No_limits37

    Introduction to a late publication, styled, an Answer to that Narrative, lays me under the necessity of troubling the public again upon a subject, which they are probably tired of; and I sincerely wished to have done with. ,

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