Green Gift Cards support everything green as a company, which is why we are here to talk about eco-friendly gift vouchers and cards in general. In particular, some of the creative ways businesses are being more environmentally responsible with their cards.
In one form or another, cards are used on an almost daily basis. Whether it’s to pay for your food shop, write a birthday card for a family member or give your business card to a client – we are well established with the word ‘card’.
We often use cards in many forms without thinking about how they are made or their impact on our planet when we discard them. Cards, in general, are in high demand but, unfortunately, are often made from or coated in a form of plastic.
The plastic pollution crisis is increasingly being talked about in news stories which is why we strongly believe it’s time for a change and have done for nearly 10 years.
Businesses have started to make changes to their products in order to play their part in combating the plastic crisis. And as companies become more responsible for the products they make and sell, the greater chance wildlife and the environment has of recovering.
We have highlighted four types of cards that have been developed to become more environmentally friendly to help you to
Eco-friendly credit cards
Financial institutions across the globe are launching schemes to help reduce the number of plastic debit and credit cards that are produced every year. There are currently over six billion payment cards being manufactured each year, with the vast majority being made from PVC. This material is largely non-recyclable and environmentally un-friendly.
Several financial industry leaders have developed and implemented plans to make ‘greener’ debit and credit cards available. Mastercard is an excellent example of how massive operations can make a step towards a more eco-friendly future. In 2018, Mastercard committed to developing environmentally friendly cards for their customers. As a result, the research and project were completed and introduced to the public in July 2020.
Other financial brands that have committed to making the switch are Axis bank, Santander and Crédit Agricole. All three businesses have either begun tackling the issue surrounding plastic cards or have made changes to their products somehow.
Biodegradable business cards
As more business professionals are meeting each other over the internet through applications such as Zoom, Teams etc. – it may seem like physical business cards are becoming a thing of the past.
However, there are still 27 million business cards being printed each day. Although you may not think of a business card as an immediate danger to the environment, the fact that 88% of all cards that are given out are thrown away within a week may change your mind.
The cards that are disposed of are not just made from thick paper, but many premium business cards have a plastic coating often made from thick PVC. Whilst these look and appear more premium, these business cards are causing more harm to the environment and can take up to 100 years to decompose.
There is a range of environmentally friendly options for businesses wanting to switch from plastic to sustainable business cards. These options include recycled-paper business cards and sustainably sourced cotton cards.
Sustainable Gift Cards
When thinking about single-use plastic items that are becoming available in other forms, gift cards aren’t necessarily one of the first to come to mind. We receive them, we love them, and we don’t think about them as a ‘plastic’ gift.
Despite this, they are often single-use plastic and quickly thrown away with a purchase that will probably contain some plastic. To combat this, many businesses now offer sustainably sourced cards or e-gift cards to their customers – but are they promoting them enough?
We like to think that we can help make the change and encourage businesses to choose greener alternatives.
Making the switch to sustainable, compostable cards offers much more than a ‘greener’ output for businesses. One of the most appealing aspects of choosing eco-friendly gift cards is that they are cheaper to purchase when compared with plastic alternatives. This is due to cards being more economical to produce and cheaper to deliver to customers. – which could save businesses up to 40%!
As well as being cheaper choosing plastic-free gift cards can improve brand loyalty. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of what impact their purchasing decisions can have on the planet. A study by Clutch showed that 71% of consumers think it’s important for businesses to take a stance on social movements, with a further 75% of shoppers willing to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with.
This study identifies consumers’ willingness to help tackle the plastic crisis and make connections with brands willing to do the same.
Every year within people’s calendars, they have various birthdays to celebrate. Whether it’s their family or friends, it’s something we have in common. This results in 6.5 billion birthday cards being sold each year.
While many birthday cards can be recycled, along with their envelopes, there’s a large number that can’t as they are coated or wrapped with plastic.
Once each card is used, and these covers are discarded, they add to the 91% of plastic waste that isn’t recycled. This has led to various campaigns to try and stop plastic covers from being used altogether. Naked campaigns are one US organisation trying to change the way online card businesses package their products.
As a whole, the birthday card industry has started to take appropriate action to improve their environmental impact and responsibilities, with many large organisations now using sustainable sources for their products. We salute them.
How are we playing our part?
We can all play our part in tackling the plastic crisis. As many of us are now making eco-friendly decisions when shopping, we are beginning to make a small but positive difference on our impact on the planet. Choosing a reusable, non-plastic water bottle or sustainably sourced gift card and eco-friendly loyalty cards are just some of the many ways to help make a difference.
Juliette joined the Green Gift Cards, a leading loyalty card manufacturer offering gift card packaging and gift card printing in the UK in Nov 2020, bringing along with her over 12 years’ experience in the gift card industry having managed card programmes for some of the UK’s biggest retail brands.