NEWS
06/13/2014 10:13 EDT | Updated 08/13/2014 05:59 EDT

What to do with old election signs

No matter who wins at the end of a gruelling election, the result is the same: there are a gang of lawn signs leftover.

A Toronto bylaw orders election signs for a provincial election are only permitted after the writ of election is issued. After that, there's a 72-hour grace period to get rid of them.

In many cases, candidates will come by to pick them up. But in the case of leftover signs, there are ways to recycle them. Here are three suggestions:

1. Grow tomatoes

Tomato plants, seen in the backyards across Toronto, can grow upwards of six to eight feet. What else is that height? The wooden stakes that hold up lawn signs.

An established tomato growing technique involves driving wooden stakes deep into the ground so tomato vines will grow around them. The stakes help the vines stay up while bearing the heavy fruits. Using lawn sign stakes can save up to $10 at a garden centre.

2. Help homeless cats

Set aside unused election signs for use at the Feral Cat Recovery Centre, where homeless cats are taken to recuperate after being spade or neutered to control homeless cat populations. The signs will be put to use as liners for cages and carriers. Volunteers will convert the leftover signs at shelter-building workshops in the fall to ready Toronto's many homeless cats survive the winter.

3. Save it till next time

More likely than not, signs will get used again. Candidates run for re-election, or make another bid to unseat the incumbent, or run for other seats of government in the area.

For instance, Rosario Marchese grew up on Shaw Street, in an area of Toronto's west end that he has represented provincially since 1990. On the street in this past election, a sign from decades past went up with a few modern adornments for the current campaign. "Lots of history here, as you can see!," Marchese said, approving of the recycling efforts.

Lawn signs must come down by 9 p.m. on Sunday.

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