The Christmas festive season which each year seems to start earlier is well and truely upon us. Apparently every year Australians receive around 10 million unwanted gifts. There is so much waste at Christmas with lots of these unwanted gifts ending up in our waste streams and going to landfill. A popular and convenient gift to give or receive are gift cards. It is estimated however that in a 12 month period Australians lost $148m in unused gift cards. Many people don’t want gift cards. They may not be interested in what the gift card store offers. For others, having to remember they have a gift card and to use them before expiry causes stress. Research shows that if gift cards are not used soon after receiving them, people tend to forget they have them. Another issue is the full value of a gift card not being utilised. One in four gift cards expire with leftover funds on them. Given the problems with gift cards it might be better to give the same value in cash. Cash is good and gives the receiver the freedom to decide how to use it. Unwanted gift cards can now be sold online for cash. The second-hand gift card market is booming. Savvy shoppers buy second-hand gift cards at a discount for example buying a $100 gift card for $80.
Remember to give something good and if you are to receive gifts, let it be known that you’d love to receive something useful, eco-friendly and ethically good. Something you can consume and share with others is always a good idea.