One million old PVC store gift cards have been recycled in a trial, providing material for use in new products, such as pipes, and saving 10 tonnes of plastic from being landfilled.
The RecoCard project, run by Axion Consulting and partnered with Jellyfish Livewire, a Hampshire-based digital marketing agency and gift card producer and a specialist recycler.
The UK market for PVC gift and store cards is worth £5.6 billion a year and is increasing. Around 2,500 tonnes of cards are produced each year – most of which often end u in landfill and don’t biodegrade.
As a result, Jellyfish Livewire has started to explore a take-back scheme and specialist recycling system as part of its Green Gift Card initiative.
Jellyfish Livewire reprocessed approximately 10 tonnes of out-of-date PVC cards from its premises.
Although alternative plastic and cardboard options exist, the majority of cards are made from recyclable PVC but the lifecycle of a typical gift or store card is often short.
Jellyfish Livewire Managing Director Graham Lycett commented: “As long as we can close the loop for the plastic ones by offering a proper recycling scheme for PVC cards, I think we tick every box and provide retailers with a choice.”
After proving the concept, investment in infrastructure is the next step. PVC cards must be collected, including those redeemed in store, near to the recycler so that material can be transferred in bulk loads to minimise transport costs.