Business Cards – Pointless Overthinking

Drawing by Adrian Serghie

Provided by Ramon Colon from

   The topic of business cards as a minimalist and as a person trying to reduce my waste is one that I struggle a lot. Every time someone offers me a business card I go on this immediate pointless overthinking state of mind in which I battle myself against accepting or rejecting the printed business card. If I accept a business card, the person providing the business card will have to purchase another business card for the next potential client. Based on my value alone, I should not accept it. But as a business owner, I know the time that has to be invested into designing the business card, and I know the emotional attachment the owner of the company has to that tiny piece of his/her business. So my heart is crushed between:

  • not accepting the card, and just saving the information on my phone
  • or accepting the card knowing that it will eventually make it to the trash.

   Now, I figure what is one or two business cards a day in the trash? I did some googling and they add up and fast.

   It is estimated that 10,000,000,000 business cards are printed annually, And out of this 10 Billion cards, 8 Billion will be tossed within a week. Source:

   I guess is not so pointless to struggle with this topic, but it still does require some overthinking. Especially if you are yourself a business owner. If you don’t want your business card to end up being an investment in the landfill real estate, or you simply want to reduce the waste you create. Sadly, printing business cards feel like is a necessary evil, how else would you propagate your passion and services?

   For one, I text my business card to my potential clients, but whenever they are hesitant to share with me their number, I hand them a printed business card.

   I ran a poll in Living Consciously, zero waste and going green in Florida, a Florida Facebook group that focuses on living in a consciously way, and asked them what do they do with their business cards.

   Here are some of their recommendations:

  • Simply refuse to accept the business card if they don’t see they will end up using the services.
  • Collect the information into their phone and avoid the business card.

   But for the most part, the business gets accepted and brought home, including me.

   Like I said earlier, business cards are a necessary evil, but this pointless overthinking could lead to some forward thinking. The purpose of sharing a business card is to provide a potential client with their contact information.

   Now as a client, what alternative to a business card would you recommend the person providing you a service?

22 thoughts on “Business Cards – Pointless Overthinking

  1. People are hell-bent at times to hand you stuff and it can be easier just to take it over hurting someone’s feelings. I would add the card to the stupid junk mail (that is something that should be stopped completely) and run it all through the shredder then toss the bag in the recycling bin.

  2. oh you should be honest with the person.. if you are sure about that you will put it in the garbage after a week, the other person should not hand it out to you. Because business cards are designed to give somebody that few piece of information if you meet each other in order to be reminded. If you can change the numbers in a minute or connect each other on social media aka instagram, linked in and so on there is no need to exchange business cards. Perhaps we should design just e-cards and sent it via whatsapp to the person you needs emailadress and so on… I have businesscards, but I dont lay them out anywhere or hand it out to people by doing advertising. They are for cases if you meet somebody and the person asks for your business card. And you can print them eco-friendly if you want, did you ever hear of stone paper? Thats a great alternative.

  3. There should be a business card app so you can take a photo of someone’s business card and store it in a digital card wallet that way no ‘customer’ data needs to be supplied.
    In Europe, collecting customer data to text a business card means you have to comply with some heavy data protection law which is a big ask for a small business and often people (myself included) don’t want to share their info anyway

    1. Evernote has a cool feature where you can do just that as well. You take a picture of the business card and it saves it in your file, then all you have to do to retrieve it is search the company name or the first name and you have all the information digitally. I do this at small networking events, while I meet the person, and then return them the business card. However, in bigger more crowded networking events I have to take the business card with me and then sort them at my office.

  4. I understand the need for our planet to reduce waste. This is a tough one. As an author, I hand out my business card at book talks to people who want one. It has my website on it also. I could, I suppose, ask them to whip out their phones and put my info in their contacts. Hmmm. That didn’t work for me in the bars, either. Just kidding. But, I cannot come up with an alternative that works in casual encounters like “communicating” with a potential client. Other than the suggestion above, being honest, but polite. I want people to read my book; some want to read it, but just need a quick way to move on with the necessary reminder in hand.

      1. Ideally, a good thought. It is problematic, though, at an event, like a book talk, when many people want contact info quickly as they leave. I agree that it is good to offer alternatives, though.

  5. i have always hated business cards. they lead to an enormous amount of clutter. i struggle with when I’m allowed to get rid of them. i think a textable card would be brilliant.

  6. Ask them if it is ok to put up on a local business board that has other cards (like at a grocery store, gas station, or restaurant), that way they get even more advertising, no clutter for you, and you helped a friend.

    1. thank you, you got my intentions 100%, I don’t think we are at the point (as a society) where we can solve the business card waste issue. Is not trendy enough, like the plastic straw or the plastic bag. However, with conversations like this, I know we can eventually change our habits as a society. One less card we accept or request a digital copy is one step closer in a better direction.

  7. If I were offered a business card, I’d ask if I could take a picture of it instead. I have tons of them, from places I don’t even know if they exist anymore, and I completely need to recycle them. I don’t even remember my “buy 10 get one free” cards in my wallet, so I consider it all waste.

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