How to reuse old greetings cards – our top tips for plastic-free July

by Claire Senior

It’s plastic-free July, and we’ve already talked about the ways we, here at The Curious Pancake, do our best to reduce, reuse and recycle. So now it’s your turn! Greetings cards absolutely do not have to be a single use item: there are lots of creative ways you can re-purpose them, so we’ve put together a few ideas to inspire and get you started!


Homemade Art

Greetings cards have come a long way. No longer are we limited to Forever Friends bears, or a watercolour picture of a duck. Some of the designs now are incredible and, particularly if you buy from a small business, the person behind your card is often a professional artist or graphic designer – if you think about it, a greetings card is actually a really cheap work of art!

So, make the most of it: trimmed and popped into a lovely frame, no one would be any the wiser that your new art started out as a birthday card!


Craft

Old cards are great to use in arts and crafts projects – which, lets face it, the nation have been doing a lot more of given the lockdown situation.

If you’re home-schooling, chances are your craft drawer has been bled dry, so old cards are great to stick out for the kids. They can create a collage or experiment with mixed media. And if you’re a hoarder like me and have cards lurking for every theme, they can be used as a learning prompt or incorporated as part of a school project – have a card with a bee on for a ‘mini-beasts’ topic, or a fish for ‘under the sea’? You’re only limited by your imagination, patience and how well-stocked your alcohol cabinet is….!

But you can also make card crafts a kid-free zone. You could trim out designs from Christmas cards to make festive decorations or cut triangles from a selection of children’s cards to make party bunting. And if you have some cards on a thinner stock, you could have a go at decoupage, and decorate a keepsake box, picture frame or other bit of home décor – if you’re feeling brave, you could even go all in and upcycle a piece of old furniture!


Reuse

Providing your cards aren’t too dog-eared, they’re easy to use again: just trim off the front, mount to fresh card and you’re good to go – all you need is a pack of envelopes. You might want to keep track of who sends you what cards though, so they don’t get the same one back….

If you’re not crafty, but still don’t want to see them go to waste, there are different organisations or charities that take old cards and reuse them, whether that’s giving them to the elderly or re-purposing them for re-sale. Just have a Google in your local area – I often notice people asking for used cards in my local community Facebook group after Christmas.

Are you feeling inspired? If you make anything you’re proud of with our fabulous range, we’d love to see – share your recycled creations on social media, and don’t forget to tag us! #curiouspancake

And with the plastic-free ethos in mind, I just want to end on a bit of a serious note. Whilst we as a small business – and you as consumers – are doing our best, it’s important to remember that we’re only operating within our means, and we’re the small fry!

Please do tweet the large corporations, who have much more money to invest in sustainable materials and new technology than us and let them know that we want better for our planet! Email your local MP and keep the pressure on those with the power to make significant change.

And in the meantime, remember shop small, shop local. Small steps lead to big changes!