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Family Games Night With Eco-Friendly Playing Cards

Posted Aug 27 2009 10:37pm

For some reason, when I think of products that need to ‘go green’, certain types of items tend to top the list.  Cleaning productsPlastic children’s toysPaint and building materials.  Baby suppliesFoodClothing.

Playing cards had not yet entered my mind.

So imagine my amused surprise the other day when, while shopping for a new deck of quality cards for bridge (my husband had even requested aplasticset), I stumbled across Bicycle ’s new (launched in 2008) line of Eco Edition Playing Cards.

While there is almost certainly a good level of bandwagon-jumping greenwashing going on here, there is still much good to say about these cards.  According to Bicycle:

Our playing cards are crafted from sustainable forest paper, starch-based laminating glue and vegetable-based printing inks.  This pack of cards is recyclable.

The quality of the cards is indistinguishable from any other new quality deck, with smooth shuffling, a nice feeling in the hand, and the impression of durability.  There are some notable differences, however, as these cards “go green” in more ways than one.

Rather than the usual black and red suits with colourful honour cards, the Eco Edition deck has… wait for it… black and green suits.  That’s right, hearts and diamonds are green. In addition, the honour cards use a simple palette of black and green for the black suits, with green and muted brown for the green suits.

The visual effect is, at first, quite jarring, although worth more than a few giggles!  You do get used to it fairly quickly, however.  Once you are, you’re in for a shock when you switch to a regular deck — where the bright bleached white background and vivid colour palette suddenly seem like an insane technicolor hallucination.

The contrast between the black and green suits in this deck is less intense than with the usual black and red, which might bother some players.  We’ve been using the deck successfully for all manner of card games, but if it is a problem for you, they are still excellent for games where suit doesn’t matter, such as many variants of solitaire.

If nothing else, these cards make a great gag gift for the radical environmentalist in your life.  But I still think they’re a great addition to family games nights — what better way to demonstrate to our children that eco-friendly thinking must permeate everything in our lives, that even the lowly playing card can benefit from a green upgrade.

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