For this installment of “Don’t trash that yet!” I’ll be sharing the myriad ways to reuse non-working credit cards and depleted gift cards. This also works with those unsolicited “YOUR NAME HERE” cards that come in the mail or for hotel key cards if you, like me, forget to leave them with housekeeping for reuse and find them in your pocket at the end of the day instead. Since most of these cards are made of PVC plastic and thus are rendered non-recyclable, why not find another use to extend the life of these cards and keep them out of the landfill a little bit longer (and also save you from buying some other cheap piece of plastic in the meantime)? Here are some ideas:
- keep in your kitchen drawer as a “scraper” – use the sides or even cut a diagonal angle into the edges of one of your cards to help you scrap stubborn stuck-on food on pots/pans/plates and even countertops (can also be used throughout your home to scrap gum residue, dried candle wax, etc.)
- use as a light ice/frost scraper off your windshield
- paint and use as luggage tags/identifiers
- punch a hole through one corner, put on key ring with others and give to kids to play with (not for very young kids who are likely to put these in their mouths as PVC is really bad to ingest)
- use it like a putty knife to apply spackle, grout or wood filler
- use as a shoehorn to get your tootsies into your shoes without stretching out your socks or crushing your fingers
- make a cool mosaic with several cards; see: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/39111/how-to-make-a-mosaic-with-your-old-plastic
- make bracelets, earrings, even guitar picks (search online for pics and tutorials)
- use to smooth out things (I use them to crease folds when making handmade greeting cards)
- send into Earthworks Systems where they repurpose plastic cards into new sheets of 100% recycled plastic for new cards. According to www.fakeplasticfish.com :
Both individuals and businesses can send in used gift cards for recycling. While the company would prefer to receive the cards in large batches (why not set up a collection at your office or school?) they will also accept cards from individuals. Mail them to:
Earthworks c/o Halprin Ind.
25840 Miles Rd.
Bedford, Oh 44146
Some other things to keep in mind:
- if you have leftover gift cards, why not see if they are reloadable, for yourself or to gift upon someone else?
- keep in mind that the strip on the back of credit cards may still contain your data, so it might be wise to sand down so that it can’t be used if there’s a possibility of these leaving your home (or if you feel more comfortable, shred the credit cards and save the above ideas for gift cards which hold no personal information)
Just think, you can give years of life to something that would otherwise end up in the landfill (as well as save you from buying something that can easily be done with these cards and would also end up in a landfill later as well!).
Remember, Reduce first, Reuse next, Recycle as a last resort.