Eco-Friendly Business Cards: 10 Clever Paper Card Alternatives

Environmentally-friendly business cards are growing in popularity. Here is a list of paper business card alternatives, ranked from the most sustainable to the least.

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The world is rapidly changing, and one of the biggest threats to our planet is the climate crisis. Global warming and climate change have dramatic effects on the world as we know it, and it’s time for people to take action. If climate change continues, pollution will fill our air, and the planet will be increasingly inhospitable to humans.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept that a business is responsible for doing good and taking actions that positively influence the world. As we strive towards sustainable energy and carbon emission reductions, companies' every step will help move the needle in the right direction.

An emerging trend within businesses is learning how to make your office paperless. While that may seem like a daunting task, there’s a simple and affordable place to start: business cards.

Are business cards biodegradable?

While most paper business cards are biodegradable, they still aren’t entirely eco-friendly. There are approximately 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. Eliminating paper business cards and moving towards a more sustainable option would help counter deforestation and save nearly six million trees every year. (Deforestation increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, negatively affecting the ozone layer.)

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of old business cards? Try these 7 recycling ideas.

What are the alternatives to paper business cards?

There are several alternatives to paper business cards. The most eco-friendly option is digital (or virtual) business cards. 

If you’re interested in a more sustainable way to share contact information, here is a list of the most eco-friendly paper business card alternatives, ranked from the most environmentally friendly to the least.

1. Digital business cards (HiHello)

Digital business cards are the most sustainable and eco-friendly paper business card alternative. Digital cards can contain a wealth of information, be edited instantly, and be shared with anyone, anywhere. We recommend HiHello, the top-rated business card app on the App Store and Google Play. HiHello is free but offers digital business card subscriptions with premium features like custom designs, card analytics, CRM integrations, and more.

Sustainable business card

2. Plantable business cards

Trees and plants are vital to the planet because they help remove carbon dioxide from the air. Botanical PaperWorks offers plantable business cards that are made with seed paper. When your business cards become outdated, you can plant them instead of throwing them away. 

3. Edible business cards

Opt for edible business cards if you want to make a delicious statement. Lady Fortune makes mouth-watering business card cookies, which rest-assured will be a hit at your next networking event!

4. Tea bag business cards

Print your business card on a biodegradable tea bag. Now you can share your contact information and a delicious drink all in one with custom printed tea bags from Ace Tea.

5. NFC business cards (HiHello

Near-field communication (NFC) technology lets you share your business cards with a single tap. While some sites sell NFC-only business cards, they tend to come at an inflated price. We recommend HiHello because HiHello lets you create a free NFC business card—all you need is an NFC tag.

6. Keychain business cards

As long as you have your keys with you, you’ll always have your business card keychain on hand. You can either include your digital business card’s QR code on your keychain or use an NFC-enabled keychain. For customizable business card keychains, check out Etsy.

7. Cotton business cards

Did you ever think that your old T-shirt could turn into a business card? Starting at $28.00 for 50 cards, you can buy cotton business cards made from recycled T-shirts from MOO. Cotton business cards are a good option for people who like the feeling of physically handing out a business card while opting for a more sustainable approach. 

Photo by Parker Burchfield on Unsplash

8. Business card drink cozy

Hand out business cards that they’ll want to keep and will use at their next beach trip, tailgate, or cookout. Have your company logo and contact information printed on an eco-friendly drink cozy like the ones offered by TheGreenLogo.

9. Bottle opener business cards

Multi-use business cards are less likely to be thrown away than single-use paper cards. A bottle opener business card (like the ones sold by My Metal Business Card) is a fun way to share your contact information while providing a little extra value to the person to whom you gave your card.

10. USB business cards

If you have a lot you want to include on your business card and don’t want a digital business card, consider a USB business card. CustomUSB creates and sells USB business cards and claims they make their cards with eco-friendly manufacturing and customization standards in place.

Are plastic business cards eco-friendly?

Plastic business cards grew in popularity because of their durability. However, unless they have the 1 or 2 plastic resin codes, most plastic business cards are not eco-friendly and cannot be recycled. If you’re looking to minimize waste, you should avoid plastic business cards and choose a more sustainable alternative, like digital business cards. 

Blue recycling bin with recycling logo.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Do I really need business cards?

Business cards are not dead—in fact, they’re alive and well. Business cards are an essential and affordable marketing tool for any business and allow you to put your brand at the forefront of any communication. Whether paper, digital or otherwise, everyone should have a business card.

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