Dear PoP – Trash as Advertising is Wrong

“Dear PoP,

My boyfriend and I were walking up Champlain Street between Euclid and Kalorama around 5:30pm on Sunday when we passed by no less than 5 signs similar to the ones attached. I assumed the first pizza box sign I saw on the sidewalk was an interesting take on advertising that had somehow found it’s way to the ground. When we passed by 2 other pizza boxes and then 2 paper plates I realized that this was someone’s intent…to use trash on the ground to advertise their sale. In a neighborhood that struggles enough with rampant trash thrown on the ground, in the street and in tree boxes, it’s disappointing to see someone contributing to the problem for the sake of advertisement. While we considered picking them up and returning them to the owner’s front yard, we threw them in the trash instead. We hope people will respect the city more in the future.”

I agree that trash is a very frustrating problem on our streets. It’s obviously not the most serious but I think it can be especially frustrating because it is so easy to remedy. So, thanks for cleaning up the trash. And from time to time, I see folks who who pick up trash up and down their streets on a regular basis. Thanks to all who do that as well.

What do you think about this specific situation: Is using trash to advertise a garage sale environmentally friendly or detrimental to the environment?

21 Comment

  • ah

    So if they put up regular signs it’s somehow less trashy?

    I don’t have a problem with it–they may be more or less eye-catching.

    What I have a problem with is people putting up signs and then not taking them down once the event is over. I’m looking at you political candidates.

  • Totally with you. As long as it is picked up and disposed of after the event, who cares. I actually think it’s a neat idea.

  • Other the the signs we picked up yesterday, the rest were still on the sidewalk as on Monday morning. Thank goodness we have those nice street sweepers to take care of someone’s creativity.

  • Wow. As long as they pick them afterwards, they are reusing and recycling. Possibly a great idea.

  • agree with the commenters. it’s no more trashy than regular signs UNLESS THEY FAIL TO CLEAN THEM UP after the sale. and even then, it’s about the same amount of trashy.

  • Outside of the trash comments, the yard sale wasn’t even that good! The advertisement to awesomeness ratio was severely out of whack.

  • I think this is horribly misguided and probably half-racist.

  • So, let me get this straight. If people re-use old materials as a sign, it’s bad and harmful to the environment. But if those same people use brand new poster-board for that one use, it’s great for the environment.


    Let’s focus on the real problem here, shall we? It’s people not taking care of their expired signs, not what the sign is made out of.

  • Half-racist? Huh?

  • I think this post falls squarely in the “you really have nothing better to complain about?” category.

    The thing about “yard sale” signs, is it’s very easy to identify the perpetrator. If you really want to be a do-gooder, instead of complaining about something that’s not a problem (or not yet a problem, anyway) why not take it upon yourself to politely knock on the perps door, or even just leave a note asking them to remove their signs? I bet it would work 90% of the time.

    Or even better, just pick up a little bit of street trash around your home once in a while? If everyone was slightly less righteous and slighty more proactive, the entire city would be spotless. I take about 5 minutes of effort per week to keep my block clean.

    • Save the condescension, please. Who says the LW doesn’t already pick up in their neighborhood? Sounds like they’re being a concerned citizen to me. Bravo.

  • Nah, this is seriously crappy. You can’t really go back and pick it up later — its trash, it moves. If they pick it up and nail it to a post or tree, and then come back and remove it later, then that’d be awesome. But if you’re going to go through the trouble of writing on the trash, pick it up!

    Effing hipsters.

    • Honestly, I missed the part about the signs not being attached to anything. I guess I read the comments more carefully than the post. Yes, that sucks. But if they were using a pizza box the same as any other sign I wouldn’t really care any more than I care about every other two-month-old yard sale sign that isn’t collected.

  • because they wouldn’t do the same in a white neighborhood. And we all know they wouldn’t.

    • I don’t know that they wouldn’t.

      Send me a list of “white” and “non-white” neighborhoods so I can check. I would have thought for sure that Adams Morgan is a mixed neighborhood.

    • I’ve met some “green” activists that are white and would likely do that sort of thing in any neighborhood…

      Trash on the ground is trash on the ground, no matter what neighborhood you are in.

    • Actually, I saw this and the first thing I thought was “white people.”

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