Where to Recycle Gift Cards for Cash or Donations

By Carmen Staicer for DietsInReview.com

Gift cards are one of the most popular gifts around, but not every gift card hits that “sweet spot” for the recipient. Many times, after the card is opened, it’s tossed in a drawer, never to see the light of day again. In fact, it’s been estimated that more than $60 million gift cards go unredeemed each year, and that number grows by nearly $8 billion per year, according to Deloitte and Touche. Don’t let that gift card die a slow, painful death in your junk drawer! There are many places online that offer the ability to swap, sell or donate your cards – here are a few of our favorites:

Plastic Jungle

As seen on Today, Good Morning America and even in the New York Times, Plastic Jungle claims to be the web’s largest secure gift card exchange. It’s a fairly simple process – select the cards you have and their values, and you can get up to a 92 percent trade in for cards you do want. Make the swap for brands like Athleta, Nike, Performance Bicycle, or REI to get the gear you need to get fit in the new year. If you’d like to use the money to make a charitable donation to your favorite organization, Plastic Jungle is happy to take care of that as well.


Offering an online forum in which to exchange your cards, SwapaGift also has more than 1,000 certified partner agents with physical locations where you can exchange gift cards for cash in person. You can even buy gift cards for less than the face value! Cash in your pocket can help you afford the discounted new year gym membership you’ve been saving for.


Accepting gift cards from more than 340 retailers, GiftCardRescue can help put those unwanted cards to good use. They’ll buy your unwanted cards for a 90 percent value and allow you to trade them for Amazon or any number of online retailers.

Works of Life

This non-profit Christian organization offers a way to donate your gift cards to charity. They take the smaller amounts, combine them into larger cards, and use them to help the families and individuals in need. They will even accept used laptops, boats, and cars for charity.


The idea started when four friends decided to pool together the small amounts left over on their gift cards. The organization collects your gift cards and distributes them to non-profit organizations that, in turn, use those cards to help the less fortunate. One of the most interesting aspects of GiftCardGiver is the option to throw a house party! You invite friends over and collect their unused gift cards, and then make one larger donation. Those who have had gift card parties have helped prison entrepreneurship and disaster relief programs.

Put those unwanted gift cards to good use! Clean out your junk drawer and get something you really want or feel good about making a charitable donation. You had no idea one little gift card could do so much, did you?

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton6 years ago

Great article - thanks for posting.

Mandi A.
Amanda A6 years ago

Very cool... Thank you!

Sue H.
Sue H6 years ago

Very good to know, thanks for posting.

aj M.
aj E6 years ago


Bob P.

thanks for the info

Dave C.
David C6 years ago

interesting idea.....

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley6 years ago

thats cool! I never knew stuff like that existed!

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for the valuable information.