What becomes of all the campaign posters, banners and bunting after the 15th General Election ends?

DAP election machinery manager for Kepong, Lai Chun Chian, said about 5,000 posters and flyers were distributed during walkabouts and ceramah by their candidates.

He said his party would collect campaign materials that were displayed in public places and usually store those that were in good condition for use in the next general or party election.

“However, we have to send damaged or vandalised campaign materials to waste disposal sites while materials that cannot last long will be sent for recycling,” he said.

A Barisan Nasional election machinery volunteer for Cheras, Nick Sim, 31, said not all campaign materials would end up as waste or be recycled.

“We will donate clothes bearing the name of candidates, to the needy like homeless people and welfare home residents for their use.”

Rodziah Norsham, who operates a food stall in Puchong, Selangor, said traders would put up campaign banners at their stalls to shield them from the sun.

“Shields for stalls are rather expensive. There is nothing wrong in using campaign banners instead,” she said.

“I used to ask enforcement personnel for advertisement banners that were taken down, and I use them as table covers,” she added.

Fatimah Othman, 62, likes to collect candidates’ posters to cover her windows at home to reduce the heat of the scorching sun.

“The posters are also good to prevent outsiders peeking into my house.

“GE candidates and volunteers are usually active in distributing leaflets and posters at markets and I usually request for more,” said the senior citizen who will vote in Kepong.

Zero Waste Malaysia (ZWM) co-founder and director Khor Sue Yee said the best way to reduce waste was to reuse the materials.

“Flags of political parties and posters of candidates who will be in the political scene for some time can always be reused for future elections,” she suggested.

She said the government could enact a strict law to reduce the amount of unnecessary bunting, with the aim to protect the environment.

Taking India as an example, Khor said the government there enforced a law in 2008 allowing only political flags to be put up on private property with consent from the owners.

“There are limitations, with only three flags allowed for use at the residence of party supporters or workers,” she said.

Khor said people needed to get more creative by upcycling the campaign materials or fabric used.

“They can be turned into reusable bags to be donated to stores so customers can use them instead of single-use plastic bags,” she added. — Bernama