Are Credit Cards Recyclable? (And 7 Ways to Reuse Old Cards)

What is living in America without credit cards? The joy that you sometimes feel in your heart when you have your credit card intact is indescribable.

In almost all situations, you would need your credit cards to swipe for payment. And in this time of cashless policy, you can’t just move around without your credit card.

Despite the usefulness of credit cards, they don’t last forever. Once they expire, you have to get a new one. Sometimes, you might also decide to change your credit card issuer. This way, your former credit cards become redundant.

When this happens, what do you do with your former credit cards? Do you just throw them away? Can you recycle your credit card? What can you even do with old credit cards?

These are many of the questions we answer in this post. If you want to know the answer to these, we advise you to sit back and enjoy.

Can You Recycle Credit Cards?

Credit cards don’t last forever. That’s one thing we all know. After using your credit cards for some time, you may have to change them. After you change them, the old ones become useless. You can’t use them for any transactions again, and all you can think of is to get rid of them.

Well, one of the ways to get rid of useless things is through recycling. But, when dealing with credit cards, can you recycle them? Let’s answer this.

The answer is a bit tricky. But let’s explain it to you. Yes, you can recycle your credit cards. Because your credit cards are plastic materials, they are what recyclers call recyclables.

All plastic recyclables are easy to recycle. However, when it comes to your credit card, you have to be careful. The reason for this seems to be obvious.

Your credit cards contain some vital information that leads to you. While we can trust the recycling process to destroy credit cards, we may not trust the personnel.

Your credit cards would pass through many processes before they finally get into the recycling machine. Many of these processes are subject to the control of humans. And the process might be compromised at any point.

Where this happens, it can cause you a whole lot. If someone picks your credit cards, they may subject them to some configurations to get your details.

Due to this, it is better not to send your credit cards for recycling. If you must send them, there is one thing to do. Make sure you cut them into different pieces such that it would be impossible for someone to piece them together.

This way, you can be sure that even if there is a compromise in any of the processes, you are safe.

Aside from this, there is another reason credit cards may not be recyclable. Although your credit cards are majorly plastic materials, there are still other materials. And that other material is the chip.

This makes it difficult to recycle. It creates an extra task for recyclers. It is impossible to toss the credit cards in the recycling bin with the chip. So, they will have to remove it. This involves another set of human resources and takes time.

Unless you want to cut out the chip part of your credit cards, you should not send it for recycling.

In all, given the fact that your credit cards are plastic materials, you can recycle them. But, for security reasons, you should desist from that. Once you understand this, you have nothing to worry about on your credit cards.

But then, another question pops up. What should you do with your credit cards? Now that it is not safe to send them for recycling, should you keep them in your house? Is it even safe this way? Well, read on to find out what you can do.

Can You Shred A Credit Card With a Chip?

The thing about life is that when a thing or process does not work, we find another. Since we have established that it is not safe to send your credit card for recycling, you think of another way.

And that other way is shredding them. Honestly, this is a genius idea. Shredding your credit cards would destroy it. It would make it impossible to piece together the card. This way, you are sure that no one can get your card details.

However, to what extent can you recycle the credit cards? Let’s answer that.

The thing about shredding credit cards is that they can either be effective or not. What determines this is on your part.

With a proper shredder fit for shredding harder things, you can completely shred your credit cards with the chips. For most of it, the shredder destroys the cards. What would be left would be pieces that you cannot make sense of?

This way, you can be sure of optimum protection. But there is yet the ineffective part.

This is through using a shredder that can’t handle the chip on the credit cards. You would recall that all. Credit cards are not plastic materials. There is the chip part, which could be anything from aluminum to copper to iron. This is where the problems set in.

You may have no problem shredding the plastic parts, but the chips would pose some difficulties. It may not be easy to shred or even impossible to shred.

Sadly, this is the position, but should it be the end? Well, this doesn’t have to end everything. You can still find a way around it.

What you can do is cut out the chip part with a pair of scissors. Set it aside, and for the other part of the credit cards, you can shred them.

This, however, is not a foolproof method. Remember, you still have the chip. So, what should you do to dispose of your credit cards properly?

In the next segment, we explain what you can do to dispose of your credit cards. These steps would leave you with no fear of a security breach.

Follow through to gain insight into the processes.

How to Dispose of Credit Cards?

You have learned that three are many ineffective ways to dispose of your credit cards. If you have been disposing of your credit cards in any way, this is the time to stop.

Here, you will learn how to dispose of your credit cards most effectively. Fasten your curiosity belt and ride with us to discovery.

1. Reach Out To Your Credit Card Issuer

This is the first thing to do if you are considering disposing of your credit card. It is important to contact your provider for possible suspension of your account. You will particularly need this if you are considering a change to your bank.

This way, you would be sure that the credit card issuer is on top of the situation. They will help you deactivate your account if this is what you want to do. If you want to suspend it for your time, the issuer will do that for you. You only have to provide a few details, and the issuer closes it from their end.

2. See To The Destruction Of Your Credit Card

Calling your credit card issuer to suspend your account is not the end. You have to follow this up by destroying your credit card. How do you do this?

What you will need is a pair of scissors. Use these scissors to cut through the credit cards. Ensure that cover the chip when cutting. Cut it into two or more pieces.

Cutting your credit cards would only be possible if you have a credit card made from plastic. If your credit is metal material, you may have to forward it to where it came from. That is back to your credit card issuer.

This is because trying to destroy your metal card may pose some difficulties for you. Unlike its plastic counterpart, your metal card is not easy to cut through.

So, destroying or sending back your card will be determined by what type of cards you have.  The most important thing to do is to ensure that you are doing it well.

3. Follow Up

It is true that you have called the card issuer and informed them of your intentions, but you can follow up. This is important to ensure that no administrative delay has prevented the closure of your account.

In all circumstances, following up would ensure that you don’t leave any hole open.

7 Unique Ways to Reuse Old Credit Cards

Your old credit cards don’t have any use to you, do they? Like almost anything else, we want to do with old things to throw them away or give them out.

However, unlike other things, your credit cards are sacred. You can’t throw them away. You can’t also give them as gifts. You can’t even repurpose them for other uses. This is because your credit cards contain sensitive information.  And keeping them with you is also risky.

So, what do you do with old credit cards? Follow through to know this.

1. Block The Card

This happens to be the very first step. We don’t advise that you ask that your account be blocked; it is okay to block your card.

This would ensure that there is no other person that would have access to the cards. All you have to do is contact your issuer that you would like to block your card. You will only provide some information, and your issuer will grant your request.

Once you have to do this, you can proceed to the next stage.

2. Set to Destroy the Cards

Like always, you have to destroy your cards. You don’t need it anymore, so why keep it? However, in destroying your cards, you have to do it the proper way.

You will have to cut the cards into as many pieces as possible. If your scissors are strong enough to cut through the chip, you should do that. If it can’t cut through, you don’t have to worry about yourself. There’s a way to render it useless.

What you will need is a magnet. Once you get it, kindly drag it forth and back over the chip. Do this for some minutes. This way, you are destroying the data that may still be on the chip.

So that’s is the better way to destroy the old credit card. But this is not all; there is still one more thing. See it below.

3. Trash The Pieces Piece By Piece

Yea, you are excited that you have destroyed the old credit card. What you are probably thinking about is disposing of them. Well, you have to relax. There is a way to do this.

One thing you shouldn’t do is send all your old card pieces to the garbage all at once. There might still be someone out there that can piece the card together and get back at you.

To beat this, you will have to send your pieces out piece by piece. Once you have seen the waste company take care of the former trash, you can set out to trash the next piece.

This would require more time, but that’s the proper way to go about it.

Below are 7 unique ways how you can reuse your old credit cards:

1. Smartphone stand

Looking for buying a stand for your mobile phone. How about using your old credit card for this purpose? These days we spend a good amount of time on our smartphone and holding it in our hands for long hours can cause slight pain in the hand. Why not use your expired credit card as a smartphone stand? All you need to do is to cut the credit card in the middle as wide as your phone.

2. Bookmark

Turning an old credit card into a bookmark is just so easy. If you are an avid reader, use your old credit card as a bookmark.

3. Cheesy Knife

The sharp edges of a credit card can be used to cut through the butter in case you don’t have a knife with you. In another case, if you are on a picnic outside, you can make the best use of your expired credit card as a cheesy knife.

4. Toys for kids

Kids are often fond of these credit cards. Old credit cards can be given to kids and they can do their own window shopping with them.

5. Shoehorn

An expired credit card can be of great use as a shoehorn. Not only it will help you save a few bucks on buying a new shoehorn but also stops you from damaging the back of shoes.

6. Lamp shade

If you are into art and crafts, you can take several expired credit cards together and make something nice out of it such as a lamp shade.

7. Pan scraper

The pans that we use in our homes for cooking often get a thick layer of black coating on it. These pans need to be soaked in hot water for hours to get rid of dried food. The old credit cards come in handy here. You can use these expired credit cards to scrape the pot or pan.


Your credit card is a sensitive item, and you must handle it with care at all times. If you apply all that you have learned in this post, you should have no problem or nothing to worry about.

Share on:

About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.