With a light tap, spending our money couldn’t be easier with credit and debit cards today. But did you know that around 6 billion payment cards are produced every single year around the world, which are then replaced every three to four years… so (let’s crunch some numbers)… the credit and debit card industry collectively contributes to around 5.7 million tons of plastic in landfill?
Thankfully, big card companies are now exploring going green and plastic-free alternatives, which is music to our ears. The majority of payment cards are made from PVC plastic which is a synthetic plastic polymer made from salt and oil. This means that, while the material is durable, it doesn’t naturally biodegrade and it retains its form for decades before breaking down into smaller plastic pieces, also known as microplastics, which leak out toxic chemicals poisoning our aquatic friends (yikes!)
First up, to tackle the amount of plastic in landfill is Mastercard, who is making waves by launching a sustainable card programme for banks. The new eco-friendly cards will be made from either recyclable, biodegradable or reclaimed ocean plastics that emit no toxic gases during incineration – jackpot!
Other companies are doing their bit too… One unique eco-start up is fundraising to be the first card company to make their user’s spending carbon neutral. Tred is a UK finance company that offers debit cards made from recycled ocean plastic paired with an app that tracks the users spending-based carbon output. Fin-tastic!
The company has spent years developing a millennial-friendly app that converts pounds spent into kilograms of carbon emissions, aiming to help people understand how over-indulgences, like fast fashion, are damaging the environment. They’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to see what you’re doing to help, and hinder, the planet – users can even view their impact on some pretty snazzy, colourful graphs.
But wait – there’s more! Those with the greenest footprints are rewarded with trees planted on their behalf through the Scottish tree-planting scheme – wood you believe it?!
It’s great to see that companies are starting to consider the environmental impact of their payment cards – let’s hope other banks around the world ride this wave too!
What other every day plastic could be replaced with recycled plastic waste from the ocean? Let us know over on our social channels.
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