14 ways to reuse, upcycle and recycle old vinyl banners

Filed in Reuse by on August 9, 2019 0 Comments
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marler haley eco friendly Banner and Exhibition StandsMy colleague and I, Anna, offer talks and workshops for businesses, schools and community organisations, to help them reduce waste and save money. We were recently invited to exhibit at a waste management show and the one item we were sorely lacking was a banner stand!

Our issue, being the zero waste advocates that we are, stemmed from our knowledge that over one million banner stands are produced every year. And many of them are a single-use item that means five hundred tonnes of PVC graphics end up polluting our landfills. How could we have that on our conscience? Especially when Greenpeace tell us PVC is the most environmentally damaging plastic.

On a mission to find a solution, I’ve been speaking to Gemma who is passionate about reducing plastic in our lives and is head of eCommerce at Marler Haley, who sell banner and exhibition stands. Like many of us, Gemma gets annoyed when manufacturers claim something can be recycled, but the end user can’t access that recycling. We all feel her pain! It simply feels like green washing and leads to frustration. She told me about a manufacturer who has released a PVC banner that is meant to be recyclable. She asked her town council plus five waste suppliers to see if the fabric could be recycled and they all said ‘No’.

Fortunately, Gemma was so determined to find a resolution, she’s since found a specialist waste management team, based in the UK, who dismantle and recycle vinyl banners.

Gemma went on to explain that the banner stands are broken down in to component parts. The aluminium is melted and reused, the graphics are shredded and made into new products such as traffic cones, which leaves a very small amount non-recyclable plastic. Pretty impressive isn’t it? And that’s not all. Gemma is also working with an upcycler who incorporates some of their old banners into her designs.

Inspired by their resident upcycler, I’ve brainstormed thirteen ways you could reuse a vinyl banner! Because, despite the material being damaging to the environment, PVC is durable and waterproof, which makes it useful for certain projects.

And in the meantime, if you need a banner for an event, check out Gemma’s site specifically for eco-friendly displays. And if you’re ready to recycle your banner, you can find more details here.

eco friendly PVC banner stand from Marler Haley

Now back to reusing your vinyl – without further ado:

14 ways to reuse, upcycle and recycle old vinyl banners

  • Offer on Freecycle, Craigslist or to a local scrap store.
  • Turn into bags or wallets.
  • Use in place of a tarpaulin.
  • Offer to a local school for messy play. They’re ideal for putting on a table or floor when using paint or clay.
  • Flip them over and make a welcome home or birthday celebration banner of your own.
  • Turn into bunting for an outdoor celebration.
  • Use as a repair for a children’s playhouse.
  • Turn into a water slide during summer.
  • Use as a waterproof picnic mat.
  • Turn into a windbreaker for a camping or beach trip.
  • Make into a fun tent or tepee for the kids.
  • Keep in boot of your car for muddy shoes or equipment.
  • Put over the car windscreen on frosty nights.
  • Cut strips length ways and turn into a fly screen.

What ideas do you have for reusing old vinyl banners?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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