How can I reuse or recycle … business cards?

business_card250.jpgJohn did a talk at LUGRadio Live the weekend before last and decided he wanted some cue cards to help him keep track of what he was speaking about. Looking around the house for something cue-card shaped, he found a stack of business cards from his last-but-one place of employment – and then another stack from the place he worked previous to that.

The last-but-one place did a full run of 1000 cards for him without asking whether he wanted them (no) – and he didn’t give out a single card. He estimates he gave out about 10 cards for the previous place but no one ever used them to contact him. What a wonderful waste.

The cards were the perfect size for the talk – discrete but easy to handle – but since he hasn’t got another talk planned for a while, what else can be done with his old business cards?

(Photo by brokenarts)

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48 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … business cards?”


  1. Tammy says:

    They’re useful as note paper if they’re blank on the back. Whenever I’m done with a business card I’ve gotten from someone, I toss it into our kitchen drawer for use in creating quick shopping and errands lists. Then it goes into recycling.

  2. Andrea says:

    These two come to mind:

    -Use them as luggage tags by writing on the blank side.
    -Use them as labels. Again, blank side, taped or glued to the item that needs labeling.

    My initial reaction was, why wouldn’t they immediately get recycled?

  3. Delusion says:

    When I was decorating my house, I used old business cards for notes. Wrote down the shop / paint colour and blue tacked them all over the house to remind me.

    Cover with a label and use for gift tags on presents

  4. Nicole says:

    I’ve used them to make flashcards for my kids. We have made phonics and music flashcards, but it could be done for anything you want to memorize.

  5. Delusion says:

    Nicole’s idea reminded me that when I was learning French, I wrote the french word down for household things and placed the cards on/beside them :)

  6. trish says:

    if you scrapbook they could be handy as backing for your photos…

  7. Business cards are the perfect size for the diaper bag. Keep them with a few crayons and you have something to entertain the kiddos while away from home. Once they’ve been thouroughly “decorated” by the kiddos they can be used to build a house of cards or folded up into miniature books.

  8. E. says:

    shred them and use for your hamster box

  9. Kaz says:

    Glue scraps of wrapping paper, foil, or fabric to the backs, punch a hole in the corner, and use as gift tags.

  10. Sandra says:

    Business cards are ideal for writing lists if you like to keep any lists in your wallet; it’s designed to fit them!

    A good use, though admittedly only for a couple, would be to write out any allergies, medical conditions, important phone numbers, etc, and keep it in your wallet in case of emergencies.

  11. erin says:

    you could decorate them and then get them laminated. punch a hole in the top and you could have a keychain!

  12. Debbe says:

    This might not be a great tip for home, but at work I have always used outdated business cards for file-drawer labels. Just trim them to fit the little metal frame on the front of the drawer, write or type on it what you will, and label away! ;-)

  13. Angie says:

    (1) NOTE PAD “CUBE”
    Take a stack of them to an office supply place and have them glue them all together on one end to make a cool note pad cube;

    (2) NOTE PAD “CUBE” (Poor man’s version)
    Staple them together in groups of 20 or so, get an industrial stapler and staple them together. Toss them in your briefcase/purse to have Notepads At The Ready all the time!

  14. Katie says:

    School revision!
    My kids used these to help them with their revision, by jotting down their condensed notes and putting them in a card file. Worked wonders, off to university now!

  15. Tina says:

    Cut out a fun shape, decorate, laminate, hole punch, put on a chain (or string or leather strap) and VIOLA! NEW NECKLACE! Do a pair and make earrings!

  16. Ella says:

    I use cards like these when I make scarves and such, knitting the same rows over and over again.

    Write one row of the pattern on each card, punch a hole in the corner and thread them on a string. When one row is finished, simply turn the card to the back of the stack. Very easy to keep track of which row you’re on.

    This beats the photocopy-with-crossed-out-rows, hands down. Also, I save them in case I ever do the same pattern again. They’re usually good for that, even when I’ve travelled with the project.

  17. Bobbie says:

    I reuse the back and write phone numbers and addresses on them to keep in my wallet.

  18. I made a mess of the design of a bunch of business cards when I ordered them recently so donated them to my local charity shop who use them for swing tags ( i incidentally get free advertising should the price tags swing round to the wrong side).
    My eldest child has used other business cards to do a “Smart” or “Vision On” style major temporary art picture on our floor with lots of cards.
    I also use slightly larger cards (cut up cereal packets but could easily be business cards) to record all my pieces or craft work. When the pieces are on show they are grouped with a rubber band, when they sell they go in a separate place etc.

  19. Peg says:

    Collect them by the thousands and join a business card club on yahoo and meet other collectors who trade them for more cards. :)

  20. I am a business card collector. Please send any spare business cards to me! I will reimburse for postage.

    Suzanne Lanoue
    P.O. Box 865201
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0047

  21. Julie says:

    I thought decorating them with foil or decorative paper is nice and then punching shapes to use for scrapbook pages

    or

    maybe use for bookmarks even tho they are short ;)

  22. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to glue scraps of wrapping paper to one side and use them for gift tags this year. I have two boxes of business cards with my old name on them that I need to use! I have to cut off part of the card that has the logo embossed on it because it will show through, but that’s no problem.

  23. Sam says:

    You can create cubes out of old business cards and connect them together to make shapes. I had lots of old business cards to get rid of so this was a fun way of using them. You can view pictures on my blog post: http://www.zeta.net/blog/2008/11/2400-business-cards-no-glue-and-a-lunchtime-or-two/

  24. anna says:

    I’ve used them for notes – when my boss left he left a few hundred cards that I didn’t want to throw away, so why not use those instead of stickies? They will do the same thing.
    Now I also found a new use – plan markers. As the cards are coated they will stay fine for a long time. I cut the card to the shape I want, write with a CD marker the name of the plant I need, and there you go. They should last easily for the whole season thanks to that coating.

  25. Flower says:

    This post is super old but I thought I’d comment anyways for those that might still come across this post.

    If you’re into making scrapbooks … you can make a mini scrapbook out of old cards.

    Here’s a tutorial for a mini-book made out of business cards http://kirstyneale.typepad.com/files/business-card-mini-book-instructions.pdf

    Cheers!

  26. Stanley says:

    If you would like to keep a copy but wants to recycle business cards, try using our service. We help you manage your business cards online and recycle the paper copies.

  27. Todd J says:

    I had a few left over from someone who left our company, so i cut a square out of each and stuck them together, now it holds my phone. A nice little phone stand.

  28. Gina says:

    So, I have a ton of cards left over (they love to “re-invent” EVERYTHING where I work), and was looking for solutions. After reading several websites, I think I may join them with some left over house paint samples and make gift tags. I couldn’t figure out what to do with the paint either! I think if I got creative, I could probably dilly up several interesting craft. Decoupage, anyone?

    • louisa says:

      Your idea for combining leftover paint and business cards has inspired me – I love the various paint chip craft projects but picking up new paint range cards to use isn’t exactly good recycling. I could make my own pseudo paint chips with the business cards and my leftover paint – and it would have the advantage that the “chips” would coordinate with my house, since it’s already painted in those colours!

  29. Olubunmi says:

    Quick question, what about double sided cards? I like the labels portions (I can stick them on the envelopes and they will look nice there).

    Thanks for your ideas.

  30. earthwormjim says:

    I use the corners of old business cards to pick stuff out of my teeth. That’s 4 toothpicks per card; imagine the trees that I’m saving!

  31. JK says:

    If the old business card is double side printed, my suggestion is to reuse it to create set of Playing Cards. Very simple, put the numbering at each card accordingly. Convenient to use it in the office when you are trying to get a short break.

  32. He could give them to a local printer who in turn would use them as samples depending on the quality of them.

    That’s what we have done in the past

  33. Alan S. says:

    Thank you for all the great ideas. I have thousands of business cards and I thought I am sure other people have the same as well so, I wondered what others are doing with them. I liked Sam’s business card cubes and the artwork created from that. Great marketing piece. I liked the business card collector Suzzanne also. I have a question for you Suzzanne so, I will mail you or if you see this, email me at the above address.
    Thanks all, best of Holidays.
    Alan S.

  34. Alenka says:

    Tie them up to the tail of the kite. :)



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