Research & Reports

Australians waste up to 140 tonnes of plastic on gift cards each year

While over half of Australians (58 per cent) have received a plastic single-use gift card in the past year, PayPal research reveals that most of them (57 per cent) would have preferred a digital alternative, as it is better for the environment.

While over half of Australians (58 per cent) have received a plastic single-use gift card in the past year, PayPal research reveals that most of them (57 per cent) would have preferred a digital alternative, as it is better for the environment.

Because of this, PayPal has launched its Digital Gift Store to allow environmentally conscious Australians to service all their gift-card needs in one easy, digital shopfront.

Partnering with some of Australia’s biggest retailers and providers, including The Iconic, Catch.com.au, JB HiFi, eBay, Rebel Sport, Netflix, Woolworths and more, the new digital storefront will enable consumers to seamlessly and securely purchase, store and send personalised gift cards online or from their mobiles.

“With gift cards being one of the most popular gifts given by Australians, they are an important part of our gift-giving culture, especially as we head towards the busy Christmas season,” said Emily Curlewis, PayPal Australia’s resident shopping expert.

“However, it is clear that Australians are becoming more environmentally conscious, and this is now translating to their shopping and gift-giving experiences.

“We are excited to launch the PayPal Digital Gift Store, not only because it is a super-easy and convenient way for Australians to treat themselves and gift to others, but also because it has to potential to reduce our environmental footprint.”

To celebrate the launch of the PayPal Digital Gift Store, PayPal is offering discounts of up to 15 per cent from select merchants during the first week of launch commencing September 4, helping consumers feel even better about going digital.

“More and more, services are being digitised to create convenient and enjoyable customer experiences,” Curlewis said.

“PayPal has worked with our retail partners, some of the biggest in Australia, to transform one of the last physical elements of the shopping experience into a digital one.

“Over the last 15 years, PayPal has played a huge role in the development and facilitation of eCommerce and mCommerce, so the launch of a digital gift cards store is a natural evolution for PayPal.

“It’s wonderful to see that mobile and e-commerce trends are also working to create a more sustainable future. The outmoding of plastic gift cards is just one small step of many towards achieving a future that embraces both technology and sustainability.”

Research findings at a glance:

  • More than a third (34 per cent) of Australians have purchased a plastic gift because there wasn’t an equivalent digital option available;
  • Sixty-three per cent of Australians would prefer to receive a digital gift card over a plastic gift card because it is more convenient;
  • Australians waste up to 140 tonnes of plastic on gift cards each year;
  • Almost half (47 per cent) of Australians would prefer to receive a digital gift card over a plastic gift card because they would be less likely to lose it;
  • Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Australians haven’t redeemed one of more plastic gift cards in the past year. Of these Australians, 36 per cent indicated this was because they forgot about it, the card expired (32 per cent), or because there was nothing in the store they wanted (28 per cent); and
  • Over a quarter (28 per cent) of Australians haven’t redeemed a plastic gift card because there was nothing in the store they wanted.