Yes, you can. However, there are variables you need to consider before putting old greeting cards into the recycling bin.
As long as the cards you wish to recycle are 100% paper and do not contain any plastics or other non-paper material, you can send them for recycling.
But if they have traces of anything other than paper, you should repurpose them.
Recycling Greeting Cards
Greeting cards are excellent at conveying someone’s love and well wishes to another person, which is why individuals exchange these stationery items frequently.
People all over the world collect many greeting cards each year on different occasions, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.
As endearing as it feels to receive greeting cards, disposing of them can feel like a hassle that many don’t know anything about.
In most households, greeting cards sit in boxes, stashed in the basement or garage, gathering dust.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with hoarding old cards, it can lead to clutter in your home.
Due to this, you might want to consider ways to dispose of them once the celebratory period is over.
Greeting cards are typically exchanged on joyous occasions, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day, among other days in a year.
Sometimes one may send out a card to someone recovering from an injury or illness.
Regardless of the reason behind sending out cards, they lose relevance after a certain point, i.e., when the moment passes.
For instance, if a friend or family member gave you a greeting card for your birthday, it will only remain relevant for your birthday, and once the day ends, it will lose meaning.
Of course, that’s not to say that the emotions and thoughts behind a greeting card become any less endearing.
But let’s face it, nobody looks at a greeting card after the celebratory time ends.
No matter how moved you feel after receiving one, you will go through it a few times and then stow it away.
Simply put, greeting cards lose pertinence after a while, which is why learning about their disposal and recycling is essential.
For eco-conscious people, disposing of greeting cards means recycling. But sometimes, doing so may not be possible.
Although cards are usually made of paper, they can include materials other than paper, such as plastics or foil. If a card has such add-ons, it cannot go into the recycling bin for multiple reasons.
Firstly, a fancy card containing a plastic or foil lining may not be recyclable through and through. That is, some parts may not be recyclable, making the entire thing unrecyclable.
Secondly, even when a greeting card has recyclable glitzy bits, it cannot be recycled as a paper product due to different recycling processes.
Different materials undergo different recycling procedures; therefore, you cannot combine paper and plastic, hoping that the two can be treated together.
In other words, if you have a greeting card carrying plastic, you cannot simply place it in the curbside recycling bin.
If you do that, you will contaminate the recycling plant that’s meant to only run paper and paper products.
To better understand the difference in the recycling treatment of paper and other materials, let’s quickly go over how paper is recycled.
Paper is mixed with water and boiled to the point where it completely dissolves in the liquid. The resulting amalgam is then used to produce a pulp that is further processed to make paper.
Looking at paper’s recycling process, it’s safe to say that you cannot combine paper with any other item for recycling because most non-paper things are insoluble in water and have different treatments.
Hence, if you have fancy greeting cards, you should first remove the non-paper bits before putting them out for recycling.
Add-Ons in Greeting Cards
Like most consumer items, greeting cards have come a long way in terms of their design. Initially, they only had papers with some doodling and text.
But over time, they evolved, and now you can get all kinds of cards.
From pop-up embellishments to tiny musical devices, modern-day greeting cards have many elaborate additions that you need to remove when sending them out for recycling.
If you have one with a musical piece, you should take the accessory out and check if you can reuse it. If not, you can ship it for recycling to a facility that deals with disposing of e-waste.
But it is worth mentioning that finding an e-waste collecting agency can be challenging as not many of those exist.
So, if you cannot find one in your area, you might want to search other neighborhoods or commercial blocks in your city.
When you find a suitable plant, you can send the electronic add-ons from greeting cards there.
In the case of plastic and foil, you may have to throw those bits out because you cannot determine if they are recyclable or not.
It’s a known fact that not all plastics are recyclable. This means you cannot put the plastic features of a greeting card into the recycling bin because you will not know if it’s recyclable.
So, simply remove the glitzy add-ons in your greeting cards and send the remains for recycling.
What Can You Do With Greeting Cards If Not Recycle Them?
Most consumer products are recyclable, but you still need to dispose of them at some point in time. Be it kitchen utensils or furniture pieces, everything in a home has to be disposed of after a while.
So, if you can’t recycle any of them, what do you do? You repurpose them using your creativity. It may come as a surprise to you, but greeting cards can be repurposed, and in multiple ways at that.
If you can tap into the creative side of your mind, you will devise many unique ways to reuse old greeting cards.
However, if you cannot do that right now, these methods of repurposing old greeting cards may help you get started.
Make New Cards
One of the most straightforward techniques that you can use to reuse old greeting cards is making new ones out of them.
All you need to do is cut out the graphics or design elements of one and paste it on paper to make your own cards.
Moreover, you can either use illustrations from one card or many to make your creations.
Create a Scrap Book
If you are an artsy individual, you can certainly use old greeting cards to make a scrapbook.
Scrapbooks are incredible for utilizing old drawings and doodles. Cut out the colorful bits from the greeting cards you wish to dispose of and put them in a scrapbook.
If you have kids, you can get them on board and enjoy some bonding time converting greeting cards into a scrapbook.
Little ones love to be part of such processes, so if you want to make your bond stronger, you should consider creating a scrapbook with old greeting cards.
Make Christmas Decorations
Decorating a Christmas tree is a fun activity, and the best part is that there are many ways to do it.
You can either buy ornaments to pep up a fir tree or make your homemade creations to jazz up a Christmas tree. Having greeting cards can certainly help you with the latter method.
Cut out the colorful graphics from greeting cards and punch a hole at the top of the pieces you separate.
Pass a ribbon through the punched hole and use it to hold up your homemade ornament on your Christmas tree.
You can also use some glitter or paint to spruce up the cutouts you take out from greeting cards. Furthermore, you can add beads to make your DIY ornaments slightly over the top.
Having a paper mustache, glasses, hat, or other such accessories at different festive events is a modern-day norm. Whether it’s a birthday or a bridal shower, attendees love to take pictures holding props.
You can make these party essentials at home using old cards and save money while also disposing of greeting cards.
Draw the shape of items you want to have, then cut them out. Spray paint the pieces you remove from the cards or simply paint them.
Attach a paper straw to one corner using some glue, and voila, you have your prop ready!
If you want to get a little generous with the decoration of your props, you can cover the straw in glitter. Smear glue all over it and sprinkle glitter to cover every inch of the straw.
Bunting flags make for incredible party decorations. But many times, people can get a little stingy and not buy those because of the limited utility.
If that’s the case with you, you can make buntings at home using old greeting cards.
Cut out the shapes you want in a string and punch holes in each. Pass a ribbon through all the pieces, and you will have a decorative thread ready to put up.
While receiving greeting cards is touching, disposing of them can seem needlessly inconvenient.
But if you are up for it, try your hands at DIY crafts; you can repurpose old cards easily. If you have simple cards that are only paper, you can send them off for recycling.
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