Bioplastic gift cards

With the holiday shopping season just about upon us (it seems many folks are starting their shopping earlier this year), gift cards are going to be a major seller – around $35 billion dollars worth in the USA alone. In fact, gift cards are increasingly becoming the gift of choice for many people – both givers and recipients.

Gift cards are a great way of ensuring the recipient gets what they want, so you’re not wasting money (and resources) on items they’ll never use. That’s somewhat environmentally friendly in itself – but $35 billion worth of gift cards also means a lot of single use plastic winding up in landfill.

Some major retailers have responded to the plastic challenge by using bioplastics for their gift cards – a great move.

Bioplastics differ from ordinary plastics in that instead of being made from crude oil derived chemical cocktails which will hang around in the environment for a very long time and leaching toxins as they slowly degrade, bioplastics are created from plant products and can be composted in your garden.

Target in the USA is using a type of bioplastic in their gift cards called Mirel which is made from corn sugar. Mirel decomposes to carbon dioxide and water in soil, composting, waste treatment processes and aquatic environments. They will also degrade in anaerobic environments unlike some other biodegradable materials.

Perhaps Target’s initiative is something you can suggest to your favorite retailer?

Another earth friendly gift card alternative are electronic coupons – increasing numbers of retailers are offering these on their web sites. While sending someone an email as a gift mightn’t be your idea of gift-giving; you can always print the coupon out onto some nice recycled cardboard or treeless paper before presenting it as a gift.

You could also place the gift card into a greeting card made from recycled paper – there’s even greeting cards now available embedded with flower seeds!

Pick up more earth friendly holiday season tips.