Receiving gift cards is something that we have all experienced, whether it’s been for a birthday, Christmas or a celebratory occasion. We often use retail gift cards to purchase items from our favourite brands, but then discard them, without a second thought.
However, the amount of plastic gift cards that are thrown away every year is contributing to the plastic pollution crisis causing damage to our planet. Alongside the cards that are spent, there is also a large number that get discarded, having never been used. Due to the materials that these gift cards are made from, namely PVC and plastic, it can take anywhere from 100 years to 1000 years for them to break down. During this time, plastic can damage both the environment and wildlife.
When thinking about items we can switch to eco-friendly alternatives, retail gift cards may not be the first one you think of. Equally, you may not think that these small items can have an impact on the current plastic crisis. Although, many businesses are making the switch to sustainable gift cards, as well as membership and loyalty cards, which in turn means that they are playing their part in reducing their plastic waste.
We’ve put together our top three environmental reasons why you should consider making the switch to eco-friendly gift cards.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Reducing our carbon footprint has been a subject within the news for the last decade or so. Although the importance of doing so has never been greater. As our planet warms, we all need to play our part in the fight against global warming.
There are a number of ways of doing this, from car-sharing to purchasing sustainably sourced products. By choosing sustainably sourced products, you can help lower the demand for non-environmentally friendly products being mass-produced. One item that you could swap out for an eco-friendly option is gift cards.
You may not think that plastic gift cards can have an impact on the fight against plastic. However, each year between 10-19 percentage of gift cards don’t get redeemed. Meaning that these single-use cards become void and ultimately, end up being discarded.
The cards that are disposed of add to the 381 million tons of plastic that ends up in our landfills each year. These cards are often made from PVC, a non-eco-friendly material, which can take up to 100 years to break down. Unfortunately, the recycling of gift cards and plastic cards, in general, isn’t widely available meaning that the retail industry has seen the demand for eco-friendly options increase by both businesses and consumers.
Minimise the harm to our wildlife
As consumers, we have all been made aware of how our purchasing choices can affect our wildlife. From David Attenborough's Netflix series to various articles published in the daily newspapers, it’s hard to escape the reality of how plastic is affecting our wildlife.
After use, our discarded plastic often ends up entering the ocean, it can take a monumental amount of time to break down, with one plastic water bottle taking up to 450 years to break down. Sadly, due to the materials used to make plastic, even when items are broken down, they never fully disappear. The combination of the natural elements, wind, sun and water breaks the plastic down into tiny microplastics which looks like food to marine animals.
As a result, there is a devastating impact on marine wildlife, with 100 million marine creatures dying each due to plastic pollution alone. These creatures often fall victim to getting caught in discarded nets or consuming plastic products that they mistake for food.
Help our planet recover
The production process for plastic is causing long-lasting damage to our planet, and with the increase in plastic output every year, there needs to be suitable action taken before it’s too late. Many organisations choose to use plastic items as they can be cheaper to manufacture. Ultimately, the decision to choose profit over sustainability is causing long-term damage to our oceans, wildlife and planet.
The more businesses that make the switch, the bigger chance we have of slowing global warming. This in turn will help our planet recover and make sure our wildlife can thrive in future generations.
Want to learn more about why our cards help reduce the impact on the planet?
Green Gift Cards are dedicated to tackling the issues surrounding plastic waste. That’s why we offer a range of recyclable and compostable gift cards and eco-friendly packaging solutions for businesses that want to make more environmentally friendly decisions.
We have a variety of flexible and affordable options that many plastic alternatives do not offer. By making the switch to environmentally friendly gift cards, you can play your part in the fight against plastic waste.
Green Gift Cards are not only eco-friendly but they are sustainably sourced and biodegradable meaning that after you discard them, they are harmless to our planet. Our cards are durable and fully customisable, meaning you don’t have to compromise on quality when making the switch.
If you want to join the growing number of businesses that are using plastic-free gift cards or simply want to learn more, please get in touch.