Greeting Cards: Sound and Motion

Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s probably the most greeting card-heavy holiday of the year. When thinking about which card(s) to pick this year consider your options.

My in-laws sent a really hilarious and fun motion and sound card for my son’s birthday last year. There was an otter whose jaw moved while he sang. My son loved it! He played with it for a long time and when he was ready we put it away in his keepsake box. The card started freaking out this week in the box so we tried to fix it, determined it wasn’t repairable, and then decided to process it.

This is a circuit board, two small batteries, plus wires and all the glue to hold it to the paper.

The plastic motion part with glue, tape, and wires on the paper.

A lot of the speaker was covered with this foamy stuff to help with the sound quality. I have no idea what this is made of.

Here’s another example to deal with: plastic lace with glitter glue. Rip this off before you put the paper card in the recycling. The plastic lace will go in the trash.

Reminder that glitter on paper and paint go in the trash.

Austin Resource Recovery is currently reviewing my request to determine if these types of greeting cards can be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste for complete processing for recycling and hazardous landfilling, or if they should be trashed in curbside trash carts.
*Update: Residents will need to take as much paper off as they can of the cards but the circuitry can be dropped off at the Electronics station. If there is too much glue or other items on the paper like foam, tape, paint or glitter, that paper should go in the trash.

Putting the burden of handling and disposing of these items on us, the consumer, is externalizing the cost of the product. Companies charge us for these products, we buy them, dispose of the original packaging (like shrink wrap on cards), then have to decide how to recycle, trash or reuse the product after we’ve gotten our use from it. All at no cost to the manufacturers, but how much of your time and money has gone into this? A good economy is dependent on many businesses who externalize their costs like this, but the burdens are on us, the consumer, who pays to have the resources mined, manufactured, purchase the product, deal with the packaging of the product, repair or replace the product, and then usually pay again to dispose of the product. The burden is on us the consumers. It doesn’t have to be. Begin voting with your dollars and support businesses that have closed loop or cradle-to-grave programs that take care of and take back their products. Corporate responsibility is possible, we just have to become aware of it, support it with our purchases, and demand in writing these changes.

I don’t know about you, but I am more inclined to keep handmade cards. Handmade cards also tend to be mostly paper and therefore easily recycled when you are ready. Do consider if you can reuse parts of the card if you are ready to let it go. You can cut off the front and glue it to a new back, or cut out pieces and glue onto a blank card. Do be careful to look for bits of foam or fabric that can be part of handmade cards and which allow for more height, depth and creativity.

More ideas and information is at my post Valentine’s Candy and Gifts.

Happy Valentine’s/Galentine’s/etc. Day!

Love the Earth, love yourself, love each other!

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