Did you know that 8 out of 10 gift shoppers prefer gift cards? People love giving gift cards because they make gift giving sooo much easier. No one wants to give a gift that your recipient hates. Let them choose what they want. Headache banished.
“According to NRF’s Gift Card Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, holiday shoppers will spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4.0 percent over the $156.86 they spent last year and the highest amount in the survey’s 11-year history. Total spending on gift cards will reach $29.8 billion.*
*Total spending is extrapolation of US population 18+” [Source.]
The Environmental Problem:
Sometimes convenience causes environmental problems. In this case, gift cards are made of PVC, which poses serious environmental health risks. In 2012, the global card industry produced 33 billion gift cards. The majority of those cards were made of PVC. A small percentage of gift cards were made out of sustainable products.
According to the Center for the Environment, Health and Justice, the manufacturing of PVC results in elevated human exposure to chemicals in the form of high amounts of toxic additives. These additives are released during use and disposal.
Moreover, dumping gift cards along with other forms of PVC causes those toxic additives to leach into the groundwater. In addition, landfill fires release dioxin, a chemical used in PVC, which is a toxic gas.
So what can you do? Either recycle, reuse or cash in your gift cards.
#1 Recycle Your Gift Cards
Earthworks Systems and Best Buy are your best options for recycling your gift cards. You need to mail in your cards to Earthworks; whereas, you can simply drop off the cards in Best Buy’s recycling kiosk. Before you head to Best Buy, read what else Best Buy takes back.
#2 Be Crafty with Your Gift Cards
- Read my 18 Ways to reuse your gift cards.
- In my article above, I mention using the gift cards to make a music pic which requires you bare scissors. Uncommon Goods sells a Pick Punch. How cool is that? (Thanks to Leigh of Green4U for the heads up.) For $24.99, you will never be without a pick.
- For more crafty sources for re-purposing your gift cards read 5 Ways to Repurpose Gift Cards. I love the Starbuck card bracelet.
#3 Trade Them In for Cash
According to CEB Tower, in 2012 roughly $2 billion worth of gift cards were not redeemed. CEB Tower projects that number to decline to a little over $1 billion in 2013. I am guilty as well since I have received plenty of gift cards I don’t want.
Join the Conversation:
What do you do with your expired or unused gift cards?