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Making a Difference: Turning Billboard Vinyls Into Shelters

Here's the Thing: Billboards for Shelter

3 1,171

OOH …Here’s One Thing  


by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company



What Happens to Used Vinyls?
What REALLY Could be Done with Them?

Okay, so I am too old, but what the heck, I will do it anyway.
I am going to have my crowdsourcing moment.

Ever wonder what the heck happens to all that used vinyl out there?

So the OAAA says there are approximately 152,000 static (okay I know, the hip and trendy word is analog) bulletins out there across the U.S.  (Let’s just ignore ecoflex posters, walls and other for simplicity sake). Lets say average occupancy in 73%.  Lets also guess that they turn over (or flip) once every 7 months, which means each sold bulletin consumes 1.7 vinyls per year.  Doing the math…that equates to 137 million (yes million) square feet of vinyl we as an industry grace the earth with EVERY year.  To give you a sense of that, think about 4,200 football fields of it EACH year.  Where the heck does it all go?  I mean as cool as Rareform (the billboard handbag co) is, they might take 2 football fields off the table each year (which leaves 4,198 more).  Anyone else cringe at the thought of this?

So where does the crowdsourcing come in?

Right now there are 65 million refugees around the world.  South Sudan has 2.3 million alone. A good number of them have very limited to no shelter.  And certainly no place they could call home.

By the way, if you want to read about someone who is making an impact in South Sudan, a fraternity brother of mine gave up all his worldly possessions and has dedicated his life to helping the South Sudanese people. Click here⇒ Making an impact with South Sudanese people    

Anyone ever hear of a yurt?  This will give you a pretty good idea of one, click here⇒. The Yurt 

Long short, it’s lattice work covered by vinyl (yes vinyl) that creates a very spacious and strong circular tent.  187,000 vinyls thrown away each year.  If it takes 5 vinyls to make one yurt, then each and every year we could make spacious dry and clean housing for 37,000 refugee families.  If we did a 10th of that, we could have a dramatic impact.  And we would be taking lots and lots of non biodegradable PVC out of the landfills.

Come on people.  Anybody with me on this?  I think with a motivated group, we could figure out how to make them, where to make them, how to get the vinyl there, how to break them down and ship them and how to build a volunteer team on the other side to receive them and set them up.  I also believe with a credible design and a credible plan, the funding can be found.  Which brave souls out there are willing to come together as a committee to figure out if we can and how we get this done?  If you are willing to commit 10 hours over 6 conference calls, I think we can figure out whether we have something here or not.  Please give me a shout if you are willing to dedicate a little time to helping out landfills and some of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Johnsen, Fretty & Co
Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC




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  1. Radwan Ammali says

    Hi Jim,
    I’m with you in this..
    Let’s talk about it.


    Radwane Ammali
    Director of Operations
    JCDecaux Saudi Arabia

  2. Bill Board says

    Thank you Radwan. Jim Johnsen is realizing traction on his idea. Good of you to join him.

  3. […] Making a Difference: Turning Billboard Vinyls Into Shelters […]

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