Reusing gift cards keeps plastic out of landfill

Indiana Department of Environmental Management logo.

Press release from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management:

Reusing gift cards keeps plastic out of landfill

(January 19, 2011) – Plastic gift cards are an easy way to give someone a present you know they’ll love, whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday or some other occasion. But once cards are used, they often make their way to a landfill, contributing 75 million pounds of plastic to the waste stream according to Mother Nature network.

“Reducing, reusing and recycling are simple ways each of us can help prevent excess waste,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Thomas Easterly. “When it comes to gift cards, one easy option is to reload the card for either yourself or as a gift for someone-in other words, reuse it-but if that is not an option, there are options for recycling the plastic.”

These are other things that can be done with used gift cards besides throwing them away:

  • Resell, exchange or donate the cards via a dedicated website.
  • Send them to an organization or company that collects the plastic cards for recycling.

These are some fun craft ideas that can put a used gift card to good use:

  • Punch a hole in one corner and hang them from your next Christmas tree as decoration. Attach ribbon or glue on sparkles to make it a fun ornament.
  • Cut cards up to make mosaic art projects.
  • Attach your name and address, punch a hole and make inexpensive luggage tags.
  • Use colorful gift cards to make fun book marks.
  • Heat up the plastic card with a hairdryer to shape it into a new work of art.
  • For the musically-inclined, cut them into the shape of guitar picks; just be sure to sand the edges.

Finally, when celebrating future birthdays and special occasions with gifts, consider buying gift certificates online or see if a business offers a more traditional paper gift certificate that can be easily recycled.


About IDEM
IDEM ( implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.

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