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Billboards Switch From Paper and Paste to Recyclable Plastic

Although using plastic poster billboards instead of paper might not seem like a greener move, the new plastic posters in use are more recyclable, weigh less and last longer.

This month marks the end of the paper poster for the billboard industry.

Last year the Outdoor Advertising Association of America announced a commitment to eliminate paper poster billboards (poster is the term for smaller-sized billboards), and the biggest billboard companies have switched to material that is fully recyclable, lighter, longer-lasting and easier to install.

The new billboard poster base material is polyethylene (PE), and the posters are installed by stretching them across billboard holders and attaching them with special pockets as opposed to gluing up paper posters, also called "30-sheets," as reference to how much paper they use.

The 220,000 billboard posters across the U.S. used to be made up of paper and paste, creating about 150 million pounds of waste a year. The PE posters weigh four pounds as opposed to the 40 pounds of material needed for a paper poster. The PE posters also are more water resistant and provide better print quality, according to outdoor advertising companies like Clear Channel.

However, they also cost one-and-a-half or two times as much as paper posters, but since they last three times as long, if they stay up for 90 days, the cost evens out.

As for disposal, Circle Graphics, the maker of recyclable PE Eco-Posters, has a partnership with recycler Avangard Innovative to turn the used billboards into plastic railroad ties.

Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, and Lamar Advertising, which altogether account for 65 percent of the country's billboard posters, have all made efforts to transition.

Lamar started switching to PE posters in mid-2008 and also planned to convert all of its vinyl billboards to recyclable materials as well. And starting on April 1, Clean Channel Outdoor is only accepting Circle Graphics' Eco Posters.

Billboard - CC license by -Marlith-

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