Billboards are a common support medium local companies use to promote to either local residents or passers-by on the highway. While they offer around-the-clock visual exposure in a local market, billboards are somewhat expensive, offer minimal message length and draw the ire of community and national environmental watch groups for their effects on nature.


A common criticism of billboards is that they take away from the natural aesthetics of a leisurely drive or a road trip along the highways. Rather than looking out at trees, shrubs and other natural elements, drivers often see standing billboards every few hundred feet in densely populated areas. Older wood billboards often rot and posters tear, further negating the eye appeal.

Tree Destruction

Environmental critics point to the thousands of trees killed in the construction of billboards each year. Traditional roadside billboards are constructed of long pieces of tree wood, with signage also made of wood. Additionally, the posters placed on the signs typically are printed from paper manufactured from tree wood.

Removal of Plant Life

A sure way to attract negative attention from environmental groups is to not only construct an unattractive billboard made of wood, but also to clear out trees and shrubs to put it in place. Whether on property owned by public or private interests, when trees and shrubbery are cleared to make room for billboards, critics claim that the media company, land owners and advertisers are all greedy money fiends who sacrifice plants for cash.

Digital Billboards

Even with the emergence of digital billboards, environmental critics aren't always impressed. A 2011 study by Scenic America indicates that while digital billboards may reduce the impact on trees, they also utilize 30 times more energy than a typical home and 46 times more than traditional billboards. This criticism is in line with a push by watch groups for companies to reduce their carbon footprint and energy utilization.