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.



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


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!

Top Questions

Why billboards?

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?

To protect company brand names, prevent potentially offensive or inappropriate ads from being displayed, and to ensure cost-effectiveness Every Shelter has developed an innovative reprocessing approach wherein every billboard is cut into strips, rearranged and rejoined. This creates a colorful, visually-striking tarp while making any identifiable company logo or brand name indistinguishable. This process also ensures that the once wasted billboards gain new life before they are distributed to vulnerable families.

How do I get involved?

Help us build momentum! We want to create a movement of corporate advertisers and billboard operators who will help us build out this common sense solution. Informing advertisers or people you may know in the billboard industry about the initiative and donating are just a few simple ways you can help. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions you may have through our contact page or social media (at the top of this page)!

How do I donate?

Click the donate button at the top of this page! All contributions are greatly appreciated and will be used to prototype and pilot the work in refugee camps.

How do I tell an organization about this initiative?

If you know the CEO, head of marketing, executive team member, or have a connection with anyone in an organization that you think may be interested in getting involved with Every Billboard A Shelter, send them a note along with our deck available here. Even if it’s just a company you enjoy and don’t know personally - companies value customer feedback and suggestions, and most have a contact page on their website.

I am in media, who do I contact to do a story about this?

Great question! Get in contact with our team at and we’ll arrange a time to talk!

I have further questions not mentioned on this list.

Email us at, or click here to send us a message! We will reply as soon as possible.