Q: What is CAUSS-Canada
A: CAUSS-Canada is an informal group of citizens from around the city who want to improve their own communities by reducing or eliminating street spam sign litter. You may consider yourself part of CAUSS-Canada if you support this goal. There is no membership and no dues to pay. This website is the primary means through which CAUSS-Canada supporters exchange information. Be sure to check the BLOG where people post questions, photos, answers and comments.
Q: What is street spam?
A: Street spam is the term for ugly and illegal signs along neighbourhood roadways, at intersections, on traffic signs, utility poles, street light poles, postal boxes, traffic signal poles, phone booths, bus shelters, etc. These street signs are also called vertical litter, bandit signs, snipe signs, utility pole advertising, stuff-on-a-stick, junk signs, sign litter, and neighbourhood mess.
The signs may advertise local businesses, multilevel marketing schemes selling weight loss products, health insurance, sample sales, landscaping services, cheap divorces, nanny services, U.S. pardons, roofing, moving services, junk removal, etc. Some of the most common street spam sign litter include 310-Dump, S&Sons Moving, Booty Camp Fitness, City Asphalt Driveway Sealing, work from home, I Lost 30 Pounds in 30 Days, I Buy Houses, G.I. Jane, College Pro Painters, Vectus Moving, All Nations Driving School, Best Body Boot Camp, Home Equity Loans, Mini Bins, Security Cameras, I Buy Gold, Praying for Change, Indoor Soccer, Just Junk, Get Rid of Junk, and thousands more. They are all an ugly invasion of our neighbourhoods.
Q: Is taking down street spam legal? Are we breaking any laws?
A: Street spam is no different than the any other litter you see strewn along the streets. As a resident of your community you have every right to pick up trash from the roadside, the right of way or on traffic signs or utility poles. Once the spammer nails that sign to the pole or sticks it in the ground it is abandoned trash and can be removed by anyone who cares enough about the community to do so. Certain signs - mostly ugly bag signs, plastic bag-like things stretched over metal rims stuck in the ground (Litter-on-a-Stick), under certain city loopholes may be legal to place, but they are also legal to remove from your property and neighbourhood. CAUSS-Canada recommends spray painting the phone numbers out on these signs or sliding the sign off from its rim and tying it in a knot around the rim; this is very easy.
Q: I hate street spam, but I don't want to get involved in removing or spraying them. What can I do?
A: Post the location on the website where someone may notice it and remove it. Also, report it to your City Councillor and 311 on the phone or online immediately.
Q: How can I promote CAUSS-Canada?
A: Tell your friends and relatives around the city about the website, talk about it in news groups and put a link to CAUSS-Canada on your website.
To link to CAUSS-Canada, cut and paste the following onto your website:
Q: Who is responsible for placement of street spam?
A: Individuals and businesses that want free advertising and don't care that their signs are illegal, ugly, and a safety hazard. If it is a local retail business, the name or address is often shown. These spammers often hide their true identity behind a voice mail system, unpublished phone numbers or Internet website.
Q: What about lost pet and garage sale signs?
A: Many CAUSS-Canada members and supporters leave these signs alone, especially if they look non-commercial and relate to the immediate neighbourhood – they are simply a neighbour trying to get rid of some junk that another neighbor may need or find a lost cat or dog. CAUSS-Canada does not promote the removal of these signs.
Q: What about real estate and home builder signs?
A: Real estate agents are among the most responsible businesses and share neighbourhood cleanliness values – a clean neighbourhood is a good place to buy and sell a house. . CAUSS-Canada does not support the removal of For Sale, Open House and Homebuilder signs. You should report these signs to your 311 by phone or online and your city councilor if you have any questions.
Q: Why do I see some signs slashed or painted over?
A: Most alert residents prefer to remove the entire sign, it makes for a clean neighbourhood. Some find if you remove a sign another spammer will come along and assume that spot as simply "unclaimed". These alert residents disable the sign by slashing or painting, but leave part of the sign, sending a message to all spammers that their signs will be disabled as well. Both complete removal and disabling of signs discourage the placement of new signs.
Q: Can I recycle plastic signs I have removed?
A: In most cases, no. Many signs are made out of corrugated plastic, commonly called "Coroplast". And, though materials look the same, there are several non-recyclable varieties of plastic used in these signs making them simply more junk taking up landfill space.
To recycle, each sign must be tested to determine its recycle category. Such testing is only effective in large industrial batches of about 2,000 kg, making it impractical to recycle.
Q: I own a small business. Bandit signs are the only way that I can compete with the big companies. Can you please leave my signs alone?
A: Congratulations on having the courage to run your own business. Please realize, however, that our communities have laws against illegal signage and neighbourhood litter standards that don't make a distinction based on the size of the business. Please, don't ask us to ignore your litter as a way for you to solve your competitive problems. By the way, when large companies put up illegal and ugly neighbourhood signs, we take those down too.
Q: What is code enforcement?
A: Code enforcement is the most common name for Municipal Licensing and Standards, the department in charge of enforcing By-Laws and fining violators. In some areas, street spamming may be frowned upon yet effectively ignored, while in other areas there is zero tolerance for illegal signs. CAUSS-Canada strives to work with code enforcement to enforce existing laws with the help of volunteer action.
Q: What should I do if I encounter a street spammer?
A: Do not confront the spammer. When in doubt, just walk away and return another day. If possible, write down the individual's description, car description and license plate number along with contact information from the sign. You might even take pictures with cell phone camera.
Contact MLS/code enforcement and report the incident. Carry a cell phone and call the police if you believe you are in a threatening situation.
Do not to park your car where it can be blocked by an irritated street spammer. You may consider parking some distance from the sign and walk to remove it.
Q: How do you actually remove a sign, especially if it is out of reach?
A: Alert residents use a variety of simple tools including box cutters, carpet cutters, and cutting pliers. A favourite tool for out-of-reach signs is a common lawn hoe or similar garden tool with a long handle that can be used to remove signs nailed or strapped high on a telephone pole.