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The Plastic Pennies recycling bins now located near checkout at ShurSave grocery store across northeast Pennsylvania are receptacles for an often overlooked plastic item: gift cards.
“I was researching alternative plastics for a project, and came across the statistics of how much PVC waste is generated each year from these cards,” explained Brad Thorne, founder of Lemoyne, Pa.-based Plastic Pennies. “It turns out it's over 75 million pounds thrown away each year. When I discovered that very few stores recycle their cards, I knew something had to be done.”
In addition to the plastic waste, more than $2 billion is thrown away annually in the form of small balances left on the cards, known in industry parlance as “breakage.” Consumers frequently discard active cards in the trash, in the absence of a provided alternative.
“I know what it is like to have a charity help you in a time of need,” noted Thorne. “We’ve had several organizations help our family as my brother Eric battled brain cancer. We wanted to develop a way to use these amounts to give back to the charities in each community that help others.”
Plastic Pennies enables consumers to donate any gift card with leftover balances. Participating retailers then convert the card balances into charitable contributions.
For more information, visit www.plasticpennies.com.