09 December 2019

Recycling Christmas cards

Before my elderly mother developed dementia, she lived for 25 years in an apartment complex for active seniors.  Among the amenities available was a "crafts" room typically used by a group of ladies creating quilts.  Before and after the winter holiday season however, the tables and shelves were used to recycle Christmas cards.

There are two images embedded above.  The top one is a scan of the back and front of a recycled card; the one below shows the inside.  Immediately apparent is the absence of any commercial greeting or any manufacturer's name, because the cards were created by cutting the front from a used card and gluing it to a piece of medium-weight construction paper.  Blank envelopes were purchased commercially using proceeds from the sale of the recycled cards (IIRC, about 10-25c per card).

I always viewed this as a beautiful win-win-win situation.  Residents of the facility reluctant to dispose of family cards as waste were not shy about offering them a second life.  The residents were generally on fixed incomes (most of which was used to afford living there) so they benefited from having inexpensive cards to purchase, and the blank inside not only avoided the mindless drivel often printed there, but also allowed users more space to write meaningful messages to family and friends.  And finally the activity of creating cards and selling them was an inducement for solitary elderly people to get out of their units and interact with other residents.

This sort of thing should be done more often.

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