Plastic Gift Cards vs Paper Gift Cards: Which Is More Environmentally Friendly


Right from mainstream media to schools, we have been taught that plastic is the work of the Devil. They cause pollution and they are not biodegradable, so we need to reduce their usage in order to “save the planet.” In these very discussions, paper flies in as the much-touted superhero to save us from the perils of plastic.

As it turns out, paper is not that environmentally friendly either. In fact, in some ways, plastic is much more environmentally friendly than paper. If you are looking to purchase gift cards online and you are torn between plastic or paper, you have stumbled upon the right post. In this post, we are comparing plastic gift cards with traditional paper gift cards to find out which one of the two is more environmentally friendly.

Energy Consumption (During Production): One of the major factors people forget to consider is energy consumption during production. Why is energy consumption important? Mainly because energy is commonly generated by burning fossil fuels which lead to air pollution. In that respect, plastic definitely beats paper. Paper production requires a lot of energy. A lot of industrial level heating and cooling is required to convert wood pulp into paper. In fact, paper production requires 4 times the energy than producing plastic. That’s why a lot of responsible paper plants have now shifted to renewable energy sources. The problem is when you are buying a gift card, there is no way to tell where the paper is sourced from.  
Environmental Pollution (During Production): As mentioned before, paper production requires a lot of heating and cooling. It’s also a tremendously thirsty process as the pulp need to be washed and processed using water. Toxic water is often dumped indiscriminately in lakes and rivers, which affects marine life. Barring the water pollution, paper production also results in the emission of greenhouse gases. Plastic production is a much cleaner process. It causes as much as 80 percent less air pollution. Making plastic gift cards and other items also require very little water.

Potential Threat to Wildlife: We have all seen pictures of marine animals and birds trying to free themselves from plastic bags. It’s heartbreaking. This is why it’s always recommended to use recycled plastic products and dispose of them in proper recycling bins. Unlike bags and bottles, plastic gift cards really don’t pose a threat to animals. This is mainly because there is no real way of getting entangled in a plastic gift card. Paper, on the other hand, is more biodegradable and thus do not pose a similar threat. While they themselves are not a threat, paper production causes immense water and air pollution which can impact wildlife and natural habitats.


A lot of people go online to buy custom gift cards and they often wonder whether they should buy plastic cards or paper ones. Suffering from the false belief that paper is better than plastic, they end up buying paper gift cards. Considering the total number of gift cards sold during the holiday seasons, this takes a serious toll on the environment.

No comments

We love hearing from you! Thanks for leaving us some comment love! If you're a new follower, please leave your link, so we can follow you back!