7 ways to reuse and recycle old store cards

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7 ways to reuse and recycle old plastic phone cards and store cards

7 ways to reuse and recycle old plastic phone cards and store cardsBeth wrote to me recently with a fantastic query.

She said “Do you have any suggestions for reuse or recycling old plastic phone cards and store cards? We used to send them to a guitar plectrum maker but he doesn’t want anymore.”

I have to admit, these cards are the bane of my life. It’s not just atm or credit cards any more is it? There are store loyalty cards, you no longer get paper vouchers – they’re plastic cards, you get cards for buying petrol, for when your car breaks down and when you visit the library. It’s a plastic world for sure.

So what can we do with these cards? Here are some suggestions for reusing them to give them a new lease of life:

Cleaning the kitchen!

If you’re a pastry or bread maker you might find, like me, that the worksurface ends up with sticky residue on it that sets like concrete.

The edge of a plastic card is brilliant for scraping hardened pastry or dough off without damaging the work surface.

Clean saucepans

There’s a theme going on, right?

If you burn a saucepan, an old plastic card makes an excellent scraper! I discovered this by accident when I’d run out of wire scourers and my sponge scourer wasn’t up to the job!

Tool kit

Doing up the bathroom?

Use an old card for applying grout or filler if you’re doing some DIY.

Make a child’s day

Old loyalty cards, phone top up cards, or old vouchers are every child’s dream for playing shops.

Go on, admit it, you’d have tidied your bedroom for a week if you’d been given an old card to play with when you were a kid!

See if your local school or nursery would like them.


Keep an old top up card in the glove box of your car – it will come in useful on a frosty morning when you need to scrape the ice off your windscreen.

Save the page

I don’t know about you, but if you’re an avid reader like me you’ll be constantly looking for book marks!

How about using an old card as a book mark. It saves turning down the pages and ending up with a dog-eared book.


I would imagine that these cards would be a brilliant material for artists. I bet you could find someone on Etsy who makes jewellery, mosaics or fabulous house decorations that might love a stash of old cards. It might be worth asking at a local art fayre to see if anyone creative could make use of them; or try your local Freecycle group.

I know these cards will eventually end up in the bin, but by reusing things you’re buying less (no metal scourers for those saucepans and no fancy tool for applying grout) and you’re getting as much life as you can out of something before eventually getting rid of it.

Reusing is a great habit to get into and really can turn trash into treasure.

What about you? How do you reuse plastic cards?

Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss is founder of MyZeroWaste.com and ZeroWasteWeek.co.uk Both are leading websites for helping householders reduce landfill waste. Her work has attracted media stories and engagement in documentaries, film and radio both locally and abroad.


  1. Gill Quinn says:

    Husband has cut out guitar picks from them. I have a feeling you can actually buy a gadget to punch out the shapes but I might have imagined that.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    So I arrived home today to find a new set of Tesco clubcards I did not ask for because they have decided to launch a contactless version. I have emailed them asking if they are providing a recycling service for all of their old cards. I can only imagine the thousands of plastic cards that will now be heading for the bin!

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