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Readers Respond: What Do You Do with Empty Gift Cards?

Responses: 25


If there's one thing that sweepers tend to win, it's gift cards. Getting a free shopping spree at a beloved store is a lot of fun, but after gift cards are used up, many people just throw them away. Plastic doesn't degrade quickly, and thousands upon thousands of empty gift cards add up quickly in landfills.

I've shared some of my ideas about how to recycle used gift cards, and now I'd like to hear your ideas. What creative uses do you have for gift cards once they've been used up? Share Your Ideas

Win Box

I keep all my used gift cards (that I won!) in my win box as a memory of my good luck and shopping spree.

gift card reuse

use them as book marks in library books or phone books to mark important numbers.
—Guest carole

Pretend play toys

My kids love to play store and keep cards in their wallets--empty gift cards are perfect for this.
—Guest catherine

Make a Purse

How about a funky, kitschy pocketbook? Obviously, it would need to be lined with fabric...but you could punch holes in all four corners of each card, and fasten a bunch of cards together to create a cool design for a decorative (and shopping-themed) handbag. The same idea would make an interesting dress too!
—Guest Natalie

Don't forget ice scrapers!

Empty gift cards are great to leave in your glove box for those frosty mornings where you don't need to get the big scraper out - just remove the frost!
—Guest Chedderfish


I save all my gift card...Someone is going to turn 50 or 60 or any other fun age. When I am invited to a special birthday I will sometimes give them as many gifts as they are old. Giving used up gift cards and fully loaded gift cards is a great present. Especially for your sister or prankster brother. Payback Baby. just mix in the used ones with the good ones adn say" happy birthday and think of me as you spend these." Great Laughs
—Guest bjfoss1976

Use for school scrip

Our school's scrip program uses gift cards and the cards can be refilled. Find out if you can do this with winning cards and you will be making a donation to your child's school (or church or sports team, or whatever organization).
—Guest ellie

what great ideas!

What great ideas! Someone beat me to it on the ice scraper (credit cards and employee ID badges work too!). Thanks for helping us remember the environment!
—Guest raymondlover2

Awesome Gift Card Idea

I'm not sure about all gift cards, but all those iTunes gift cards! Did you know they are DRY ERASE?!?!? I found this out about two minutes ago. So, heres my idea-Take your iTunes gift card and stick on one of those magnet pieces that have sticky stuff on the backs. Then, you automatically have a dry erase magnet!
—Guest Caillyn J

smooth sheet rock

put in my tool box. great for smoothing sheet rock on small jobs. or scraping.
—Guest Calam!ty

Dumpling Cutter

Cut biscuits with them, they won't cut the counter. Then use them to scoop the dumplings up and dump in the pot.
—Guest Calam!ty

Spare key

Use it to break in the house when you left your key inside instead of your drivers licence.
—Guest Calam!ty


I cut them into strips and glue them together with hot glue with some felt on the bottom and make a collage coaster. It takes about 4 layers of strips in alternating directions. I do this with Starbucks cards because they are so colorful. I get so many compliments!
—Guest Lizzylu

Go craft something.. forget scraping ice

I usethem to craft photo keychains! Cut them into three equal pieces and round each corner. Using a small hole punch, make a hole in the top of each. Apply Mod Podge and your background scrapbook paper. On the bottom half I place a small photo with another layer of M.P. Top half: stickers with name, date, initial, or whatever your heart desires! Then one final coat of M.P. on sides and flat surfaces. Use a ball and chain (4") to attach to your keychain and you are done!
—Guest ShansPaints

Play with Your Card

My son got a Pick Punch for Christmas, so I'm going to let him punch guitar picks from the used gift cards.

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What Do You Do with Empty Gift Cards?

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