THE PROBLEM: INSUBSTANTIAL TARPS
You can help.
Most of the 30+ million refugees living in shelters do so under tarps that will fail within months. Refugees rely on their tarps for their roofs and their walls. We are working to build a program that will repurpose billboard vinyl that is landfill bound to replace the lowly tarp that is used now around the globe in relief work. We'll make a tarp that lasts years, not months.
WHAT IF THE SOLUTION IS AROUND US EVERY DAY?
THE SOLUTION: BILLBOARDS
Right now, billboards go to the landfill when the lease is up. To put it another way, 80 lbs of virgin plastic that could be upcycled to help families just goes to waste. We're hoping to build a coalition of support around the idea that we can do better. A letter supporting this idea, that we can and should convert billboards into useful shelters for displaced families, is going to help us bring the billboard industry to the table to build this program together. We believe that if they hear this is something their customers want, they'll act.
The Every Shelter Team
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Want to find out more about our process? How we ensure safe products for vulnerable families? Or how you can help? Read about these answers and more below!
Billboard vinyl is engineered to be waterproof, UV resistant, and nylon-layered to prevent tearing. It is made from a mixture of plastic, glass fibers, and vinyl making it resistant to the harshest weather conditions, flexible and fray-resistant. It also makes it non-recyclable. After a lifespan of four to eight weeks, the billboards are trashed and end up in landfills. Vinyl doesn’t decompose easily so they collect as waste. Every Billboard takes these tarps and repurposes them into durable tarps for vulnerable families, creating jobs in the process.
How did you come up with this idea?
Scott and Nicole were traveling with some of our Emergency Floor partners in Northern Lebanon when they saw refugees in an informal tent settlement using billboards as makeshift shelters. The seed of the idea was planted. As we’ve learned more about single-use plastic waste we realized that repurposing billboards to tarps was an important intervention not only for the families who need better, more durable tarps but also for the planet. That trip to Lebanon was in 2016 and we are excited to finally be bringing this idea to fruition!
Are billboard tarps safe to live under?
Yes. Every Billboard tarps are clean and safe to use. Most billboards are made of PVC, a material trusted in homes and hospitals. PVC in this form does not pose a threat of off-gassing and we have worked extensively with industry professionals to ensure that our process of repurposing with minimal reprocessing does not harm the composition of the material.
How many billboards are put into landfills every year?
Approximately 600,000 tons of billboard vinyl is made in the United States annually, which is about 250 million square feet. On average, 1 billboard - approximately 42 pounds of plastic - goes to the landfill every 75 seconds.
Will my company's logo be on the billboard? How do I protect my brand?
How do I get involved?
How do I donate?
How do I tell an organization about this initiative?
I am in media, who do I contact to do a story about this?
Great question! Get in contact with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a time to talk!