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Give Recycling Some Credit
Did one of your credit or debit cards just expire? At first, you may not think your old credit card or gift card is on the list of what can be recycled.
According to a study released by Experian, the average American holds four credit cards. Besides credit, there are all those plastic cards from supermarkets that make you feel like a member (loyalty cards), old video rental and gift cards. When all is said and done, that’s billions of plastic cards that end up being thrown away after the expiration date has passed.
Make Guitar Picks
The PickMaster Punch lets you make your own recycled picks out of expired credit cards or gift cards.
Recycling gift cards and upcycle old credit cards into something cool may be your best bet, as there used to be a company that you could mail them to. Instead of throwing old cards in the garbage, Earthworks System, used to accept plastic cards for recycling. According to their website, Over 75 million pounds of PVC material from plastic cards enters this country’s waste stream each year. Read on for a few more crafty recycling project ideas you can also make with old plastic cards.
UPDATE as of 10/2016: Earthworks System is not accepting any gift cards for recycling. As with most suggestions on RecycleScene, make sure to email, call or otherwise confirm the recycling service you’re considering is still offered.
Please note: just send plastic cards- no rubber bands, paper clips or paper. Also, they ask that you please put a label or hand write the name of your organization on the package so they can track it.
Pass the word along to your favorite stores and hotels to contact Earthworks to learn how to recycle their cards! Cards made from Earthworks 100% recycled plastic can also be purchased. After collection, cards are shredded and then turned into new sheets. When you go into a market or store, encourage retailers to be responsible by contacting Earthworks and setting up a recycling arrangement for their leftover gift cards and customer loyalty cards.
If you have concerns about identity theft and sensitive credit/bank card information, you are able to cut your credit cards in pieces before you send them since they will be shredded anyway, or you could shred them and send them. To be efficient and cut down on shipping costs, you can wait until you have a collection, or even use a box to collect old plastic cards at work or school before you send them.
Reduce Reuse Recycle
And to top it all off, here’s a great reminder that just because you can’t use something for its original purpose, that doesn’t mean it is trash. Here are a few ways to recycle gift cards by making useful stuff out of them:
Repurposing rules! And if you have a gift card with a leftover balance, donate it to Plastic Pennies. Card balances are converted into donations for charities by participating retailers.