Can Rigid Plastic Signs Be Recycled?

Photo of p[lant labels made from old rigid plastic signs

Most rigid plastic signs are manufactured from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is one of the oldest plastics and very durable. Although it can be recycled it rarely is – throwing a sign out amongst your household recycling is not possible, certainly in most regions of the UK. Although PVC is rarely recycled there are some specialist recycling organisations that are able to do so. However, this is usually on a mass-scale not just for the odd sign or two, which is okay for us if we have a pallet load of scrap signage and material to dispose of, but no good for the typical household or business premises. If you have a lot of PVC to recycle then the best starting point would be to enquire with a local waste management company – some will even pay you for bulk waste plastics!

With this in mind, most of us left with 2 choices, throw it out with general waste or repurpose the sign into something else.

How Can I Repurpose Rigid Plastic Signs

Once you have decided that a sign has outlived it’s useful life or is now surplus to requirements see if you can extend it’s useful life by doing some of the following. 

1. If another sign is going in it’s place consider purchasing a self-adhesive sign that you can simply stick over the existing rigid plastic sign. This saves your sign from ending up in a landfill site, possibly saves damaging a wall upon removal, and saves you a few pence as self adhesive vinyl signs are typically cheaper.

2. You could paint the sign with chalkboard paint to create a handy chalkboard looking sign instead that you can use over and over again.

3. One of our favourite repurposing methods is to cut the sign into strips to use as marker in plant pots to identify what is growing in the greenhouse. If you grow the same stuff over and over use a permanent marker, otherwise use something less permanent to write on it. You can follow the success or otherwise of the TCOB garden on our Taking Care Of Botanicals page!

4. Cut down to credit-card size, rigid plastic signs are the perfect material for applying and spreading pollyfilla!

5. We have found that a single A3 sign makes a prefect dustpan when sweeping the warehouse, whilst a pair of A3 sized signs make the perfect leaf gatherer-uppers!

These are just a few ideas to be getting on with. Overtime we will add to this list as we come up with more ways that signs can be repurposed for a new lease of life as something else, but be warned, some will be more practical than others!