Philadelphia, PA - The City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet announced today that more than 8,000 illegal signs collected during the City’s first Illegal Signs Round-up. 24 community groups from across the city participated in organized efforts to take down the signs in June.
The City is paying the community groups $0.50 per sign up to $250 (or 500 signs) for removing the illegal signs posted in the right of way, often on utility poles or traffic signs. The groups will use these funds to purchase new supplies for cleaning and greening Philadelphia neighborhoods.
“We were overwhelmed by the response to the Bandit Signs Brigade and are grateful to have so many groups participate,” said Nic Esposito, director of the City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet. “These signs often end up as litter, and a littered community is bad for residents and bad for business,” he added.
Many of the signs, often predatory in nature, offer to buy homes or vehicles for cash. The penalty for posting these signs is $300 per sign for the first offense and up to $2,000 per sign for the second offense.
To step-up enforcement efforts, the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet is working with the Department of Licenses and Inspections to investigate the root issue of the illegal signs problem, the companies that pay per sign to have them posted. During the round-up, community groups took photos to track where signs removed to aid enforcement efforts.
Collected, instead of being thrown away, they will become repurposed. In October, during Mural Arts Month, the City will work with Trash Academy, a project of Mural Arts Philadelphia, to repurpose the signs into something useful. Going to Trash Academy art projects that highlight the need to eliminate single-use plastics from the waste stream.
The City is also in discussions to create custom-designed, sanctioned advertising kiosks where signs can legally post in neighborhoods. Once the new stalls are in place, there will be a zero-tolerance enforcement policy for signs on utility poles and the public right of way for that specific area.