A number of candidates in Poland’s recent elections are seeking to ensure that their campaign banners do not go to waste. Some are donating them to animal shelters as insulation and others are turning them into bags. One group wants to send banners to Ukraine to help seal soldiers’ dugouts and cover damaged roofs.
During the campaign for the 15 October parliamentary elections, the country was covered with banners promoting candidates, which were often hung on fences and balconies. Afterwards, candidates have an obligation to ensure that they are removed within 30 days.
Even before the elections, the Municipal Roads Authority (ZDM) in Warsaw appealed to all political parties and candidates to donate their banners to shelters. “Instead of ending up in a landfill, banners can help animals. They are perfect for sealing stalls ahead of winter,” tweeted ZDM.
Zamiast trafić na wysypisko, banery mogą pomóc zwierzętom, które przebywają w schroniskach. Świetnie nadają się do uszczelniania boksów przed zimą. Zachęcamy wszystkie komitety i każdego kandydata do przekazywania swoich materiałów wyborczych na rzecz schronisk w całej Polsce. pic.twitter.com/JYRNhPXBbB
— ZDM Warszawa (@ZDM_Warszawa) October 13, 2023
Among those who had already pledged ahead of the elections to donate banners to shelters was Łukasz Litewka, a candidate for The Left (Lewica) in the city of Sosnowiec.
Litewska gained fame during the campaign for banners that featured not only his own image but also pictures of various dogs from a local shelter and an appeal “adopt me”.
On Saturday, Litewka announced that 99% of his campaign banners had been collected. Some would go to shelters while others would be used as material for making bags, which would then be auctioned with the proceeds going to the shelters, he said.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the political spectrum, candidates from Sovereign Poland (Sovereign Poland), a hard-right group that stood alongside the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, have also been donating their banners to shelters.
“Winter is coming, which is a difficult time for animals,” wrote Robert Popkowski, a candidate in Konin. “Election banners…are made of material that can protect against wind. They can be used to cover kennels or line animal cages.”
A shelter in the city of Łódź told local news outlet Express Ilustrowany that banners can also be used to provide shade for animals in summer. However, not all shelters need or accept banners, so it is important to check in advance.
Popkowski’s party colleague, Dariusz Matecki from Szczecin, announced that, in addition to being donated to animal shelters, banners can used as covers for firewood or to line garden ponds. “If anyone needs one, let me know,” he tweeted.
Among other candidates to donate their banners to shelters are Michał Gramatyka of the centre-right Third Way (Trzecia Droga) and Aleksandra Wiśniewska of the centrist Civic Coalition (KO). Some of Wiśniewska’s banners are also being turned into bags.
Meanwhile, in the town of Tychy, a sailing club has asked to take banners, reports broadcaster TVN.
While such forms of recycling have taken place after previous Polish elections, a novelty this year is a campaign seeking to send banners to Ukraine.
One of the organisers of the “Political banners saves lives” (Baner polityczny ratuje życie) campaign, Tomasz Szydlak, told TVN that his group has already been collecting ordinary advertising banners during the war in Ukraine. Such material can be used to seal roofs and walls in soldiers’ dugouts, he notes.
During the election campaign, candidates “threw mud at each other”; now their banners can be used to “protect against mud”, said Szydlak, who added that the material can also be used to cover roofs in houses that have been destroyed in the fighting.
The first dog adoption app in Poland has been launched by a group of high school students.
With an interface inspired by Tinder, it matches dogs needing adoption with prospective owners https://t.co/rHS0JSdHQ9
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) May 17, 2021
Main image credit: Łukasz Litewka/Facebook
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.