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Running Out of Time: Gift Cards

Did you get a slew of gift cards this holiday season? Gift cards can be a green solution to wasteful gift giving, but it can also be a thorn in your side (pocket). Gift cards are supposed to make it easy to choose something that you would choose for yourself, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

How many times have you wound up with a gift card from a store that you usually don’t even shop in? Or, a store that is not that close to where you live? Or, a gift card to an online site that you have to use your credit card to pay for shipping and tax? Or, you go to the store to redeem your gift card and it has expired?

I had been waffling about the merits of gift cards, but after reading Terri’s story, I was warming up to the idea of giving a few gift cards to those hard to buy or DIY for people on my holiday list.

Consumer Reports says about $8 billion, or about 10 percent worth of gift cards given during one holiday season go unredeemed. A mega-amount of gifts cards to the tune of 40 billion dollars go unused each year! Geeze, now I’m back to waffling about gift cards.

Then I read over on the Daily Grommet site that a company is breathing new life into old gift cards. Read Tina Henson’s story and you can decide:

When Tina heard about a friend who couldn’t use a 1,000 dollar gift card, she had the idea to create a company that lets people trade in their unused gift cards for cash or a different card. Her venture is called Plastic Jungle.

Here’s how it works:

Go online to the Plastic Jungle site and enter in your gift card details. Plastic Jungle will offer a check for up to 90 percent of the verified card balance. Or, you can exchange your unwanted or partially used gift cards for an Amazon gift card, or donate them for the benefit of your favorite nonprofit organization. You have to mail in your gift card to redeem the value, but Plastic Jungle provides a free printable shipping label to make it easy.

Still waffling about gift cards? Watch this video about Plastic Jungle to find out more:

It’s after Christmas; do you know where your gift cards are?

Read more: Christmas, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, EcoNesting, Green Gifts, Hanukkah, Holidays, Life, , , , ,

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

54 comments

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8:05PM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

Awesome, ty.

8:03PM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

Awesome, ty.

8:01PM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

Awesome, ty.

7:59PM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

Awesome, ty.

6:20PM PST on Dec 29, 2011

still think cash best!

5:38AM PST on Dec 15, 2011

nice idea

2:40PM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Nice.

11:27AM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Cool!! Thanks!

11:09AM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Now that's a clever and useful idea. Thanks.

7:43AM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Never heard of that before. Pretty neat.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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