We all know that gift cards are great. However, the typical plastic that gift cards are made of isn’t friendly to the environment, which has led many companies and consumers to be concerned about the impact of throwing away used gift cards. The problem is real: Discarded gift cards account for as much as 100 million pounds of PVC plastic in landfills every year. 

But, fortunately, there are several ways to cut down on this waste that puts used and unwanted gift cards to good use. From practical to fun, here are a few helpful tips to consider for repurposing gift cards.

1. Re-gift unwanted cards. 

Sometimes, you receive a gift card that doesn’t really work for you. Maybe there’s nothing in the store you can use or the card is redeemable at a chain that isn’t nearby. When this happens, you can still make use of your gift card by re-gifting it to a friend or family member who can use it. Some charitable organizations will even take unwanted gift cards that they can use or pass on.

2. Recycle spent cards. 

Some eco-friendly merchants encourage recycling gift cards by putting a spent card collection station near the register. Once the balance on a gift card is used up, it can be placed in the box and then either re-loaded and sold to someone else if possible or recycled. While some customers will prefer to purchase new, unblemished cards, gift card recycling stations are a great way to encourage re-use and appeal to eco-friendly customers.

3. Reload spent cards.

Depending on the business or point of sale system, a great way to not waste a gift card is to keep putting money on it! Most places will let you continue to reload old gift cards with more cash, and some places even reward you for it. Merchants hoping to encourage reloading gift cards can start a rewards program by letting customers accrue points for purchases whenever they reload. Customers may also like reloading gift cards to help them with travel or budgeting their household expenses.

4. Make a card tool. 

Small plastic cards are useful for all kinds of things like scraping paint, unlocking doors, drawing straight lines, or leveling tables. It’s always a good idea to have a few spent gift cards around the house for chores, creative projects, and home repairs.

5. Use gift cards as a wallet spacer. 

A wallet is the best place to carry important items like money or personal identification, but not everything important fits conveniently into a card sized wallet space. Spare keys, phone sim cards, paper notes, and other important things that need to be carried around can easily slip out of a wallet’s card space. With just a little bit of tape, it’s easy to stick these loose items onto a spent gift card and store it safely in a wallet card slot. 

6. Make a craft.

Gift cards are made of hardy plastic that can be used in all kinds of crafts. The patterns on gift cards can be used in a homemade card or even in a mixed media drawing or painting. Businesses can even get in on the action by gathering spent cards and using them in a display.

7. Don’t use plastic cards at all! 

Plastic isn’t the only option for gift cards anymore. Digital gift cards are growing in popularity. They have many benefits, including being instantaneously delivered and eco-friendly. 

Card Market can help your company with gift card solutions so that you can help your customers with environmentally-friendly tips for their gift cards. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!