Top 9 benefits of going green with your gift cards

28 Jan 2021 • 3 minute read

We all know that gift cards are a desirable gift choice for our loved ones. But as shoppers and businesses do their best to reduce their carbon footprint then there’s a glaring problem with purchasing single-use plastic gift cards. 

Fortunately, the paperboard eco gift card is on the rise. Well-known brands including Selfridges, Amazon, and New Look are ahead of the curve and have ditched their plastic gift cards in favour of greener alternatives. 

Making the switch to sustainable gift cards benefits brands, consumers and the environment alike. We’ve rounded up 9 benefits of using eco-friendly gift cards. 

1. They contribute to a greener future 

The devastating effects that single-use plastics wreak upon communities and the environment has been well-documented over the years. 

Governments are finally taking steps to ban such items as plastic straws and stirrers. Meanwhile, supermarkets are instigating plastic bag charges and starting to remove unnecessary packaging and introduce paper bags or recyclable bags. But we need to stay ahead of the game and think about the next item that we can replace with a sustainable solution.

With the gift card business being valued at £7 billion in the UK alone – it’s no surprise that it’s even more important than ever to find a more environmentally responsible solution. When businesses switch to green alternatives for gift cards, we can take another example of single and limited-use plastic out of the equation. The more items that we can find an alternative for, the safer and cleaner a world we can create for future generations. 

2. They help brands and individuals reduce plastic pollution

Traditional gift cards are usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or similar plastics. These toxic, hard to manage plastics have no recycling system which means that once a gift card is spent, it is usually tossed into a landfill. Once there, it may take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. 

Burning isn’t an option - PVC, styrene, and the like release harmful dioxins into the atmosphere when burnt.

In contrast, plastic-free paperboard gift cards are 100% recyclable and compostable. They can be dropped into regular household recycling or compost waste. Fuss-free and guilt-free!

3. Fewer carbon emissions are produced 

Eco-friendly, paperboard gift cards also have a significantly lower carbon footprint in terms of production. Whilst a single PVC gift card typically produces 21 grams of carbon, its paperboard equivalent produces a meagre 0.66 grams.

The International Card Manufacturers Association reports that at least 10 billion plastic gift cards are produced every single year. That is potentially a catastrophic amount of carbon emissions.

4. They support Corporate Social Responsibility policies

Modern consumers seek out brands that integrate Corporate Social Responsibility into their policies. At the same time, future employees consider an organisation’s CSR efforts when searching for work. By making this easy switch to a recyclable gift card, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to environmental issues loud and clear. 

As shoppers respond positively to brands that can evidence CSR, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. An eco gift card such as those produced by Green Gift Cards is Plastic Free certified and sourced from forests where more trees are planted than are harvested, and the paper mill runs on bioenergy. There’s no better way for businesses to show off their green credentials to all concerned stakeholders. 

5. Lower production costs 

In addition to their benefits on the environment, plastic-free gift cards are cheaper to produce. As a result of this, they are far cheaper for businesses to purchase. In fact, making the switch can reduce expenditure as much as 40%.

And what about shipping? As paperboard cards weigh around half as much as plastic alternatives, they are cheaper to transport. It reduces fuel consumption too - which saves money whilst helping to conserve the environment.                      

Green Gift Cards have developed an innovative system whereby we can even print short runs of just 1,000. This is the perfect solution for smaller environmentally minded brands.

6. Quicker turnaround

In addition to having lower costs attached, sustainable gift cards are also produced far more swiftly than plastic alternatives. This is because there are fewer stages in the production method in comparison to plastic gift cards.

It takes an average of 15 days to produce a run of environmentally friendly gift cards - but often it is even faster. In contrast, PVC gift cards take at least 4 weeks. 

This speedy turnaround lends itself to brands who wish to make frequent changes to the design of their gift cards or running seasonal promotions.                                 

7. They strengthen a brand’s reputation

Plastic-free packaging, carbon-neutral shipping, tree planting initiatives and charitable donations. As the climate emergency continues to grow, more and more consumers expect brands to offer such green solutions and invest in sustainable campaigns.

Younger generations in particular are more clued up on what brands are doing to reduce their impact on the environment. A survey published by Nielsen in 2018 reported that 75% of Millennials shop with the environment in mind. So much that they are prepared to pay more for sustainable, socially responsible products.

Replacing the plastic with sustainably sourced gift cards will inspire conscious gift shoppers to make the purchase. 

8. Paperboard cards are durable 

You might wonder if a paperboard card will live up the durability of a PVC alternative. Rest assured that all gift cards produced by Green Gift Cards are thick, robust and made to resist wear and tear. Nor do they lose their data integrity. In fact, testing has shown that paperboard cards can withhold over 400 swipes!

For that reason, our recyclable gift card is also available as loyalty cards. 

9. The perfect solution to gift and eco-anxiety

We all want to treat our loved ones now and then to something special. But sometimes it’s hard to find that perfect gift - which is where gift cards take away the stress.

But as we become more conscious of the implication’s plastic has on the planet, nobody wants to hand over a plastic gift card. Opting to pick up an environmentally-friendly gift card is the natural solution. This way there is no guilt attached to either the gifter or the recipient. They can shop with a clear conscience and know that their spent card will either be recycled or go into compost. 



Compostable and recyclable



Save up to 40% compared to plastic



Turnaround average 20 working days

Introducing our range of plastic-free cards

Since 2006 we have been innovating and disrupting in the card market to develop what is a leading range of environmentally-friendly card solutions. So what sets us apart?

Well that’s the thing, there’s a number of reasons why Green Gift Cards are renowned in the world of card production. It is the material we use for our cards and the certification that the cards come with. It is also the compelling environmental story (we urge you to watch the video) that is behind all of our cards and the fact that, once finished with, our cards are compostable and can be recycled in normal household waste streams. Oh and we’ll say it again – being environmentally-friendly doesn’t mean they are more expensive. In fact they offer great value compared to plastic cards.

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