Boycott cards

109: Never buy greetings cards with sound built in

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

A pointless, horrific use of batteries which can kill children and pollute our waste systems

This action is addressing one of those really pointless, totally unnecessary and potentially dangerous uses of resources that has emerged as a result of cynical marketing in our consumerist world – especially in the west.

Our name and shame is … greetings cards which include little circuit boards, speakers and batteries that play a tune or make sounds when you open the card. Some add LED lights as well.

Like this ….


What are they?

These are fancy cards that have a small pocket built into them, in which miniature circuitry and a battery are installed. A small flap of card is pulled out of the pocket when the card is opened, activating a switch which triggers the circuit to play a tune.

These cards are often marketed at children.

The use of natural resources in this way is unjustifiable, and unethical.

So what’s the problem?

There are several problems with these cards from an environmental perspective:

  • First and foremost, the use of batteries is wholly irresponsible. Button batteries can actually kill, there are many recorded cases of children dying after ingesting them including one at this linked article.
  • The circuitry includes the use of other rare resources, and harmful chemicals
  • The presence of the circuitry and various plastics makes the card non-recyclable
  • They are not generally made from recyclable materials even if you were to take it apart when disposing
  • In landfill, electronics and batteries break down into corrosives and polluting chemicals
  • They are hugely expensive compared to normal cards
  • They use all these resources for a few seconds gratification

Take action

We do not believe these cards can be justified in any circumstances and for today’s action we would urge you to:

  • Boycott purchasing them altogether
  • If you receive one, tell the giver about this article (but you can still say thank you!)
  • If you receive one, return it to the manufacturer with a letter asking them to dispose of it under the WEEE regulations

It’s a no from us!

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