Initiative aims to encourage banks to adopt credit and debit cards made from recycled, chlorine-free, biodegradable and ocean plastics
Mastercard has launched a directory of sustainable alternatives to non-recyclable and virgin plastic payment cards, in a bid to takle the mountain of plastic credit and debit cards which end up in landfill each year.
The new directory of vendors and sustainable materials aims to make greener payment cards the "preferred option" for financial institutions worldwide, the financial services giant said.
It hopes the new resource directory, which is available to Mastercard consumers, will encourage banks to offer greener alternatives such as recycled, chlorine-free, degradable and ocean plastics for payments cards to their customers.
Roughly six billion payment cards are produced each year globally, Mastercard estimates, typically from non-biodegradable PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. These cards, which have a three-to-four year shelf life, contribute to several tonnes of landfill waste annually, it said.
Ajay Bhalla, president of Mastercard's cyber and intelligence division, said offering eco-friendly cards was better for both the environment and business, and also "meets evolving consumer needs". "We're excited to see our efforts gaining traction in so many parts of the world and hope more organisations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these urgent environmental challenges," he said.
Mastercard said it developed the sustainable card material directory at its digital security lab in the UK, where it analyses the materials in payment cards to verify the environmental claims made by manufacturers and ensure the directory is accurate.
Researchers at the lab are also exploring environmentally-friendly ways to recycle existing plastic cards, it added.
It forms part of Mastercard's effots to develop a global certification scheme for approved cards, and builds on the company's Greener Payments Partnership formed in 2018 alongside a slutch of payment card manufacturers to reduce first-use PVC plastic in manufacturing.
Since forming the GPP's two years ago more than 60 financial institutions, including Credit Agricole and Santander, have now issued cards made from approved materials, according to Mastercard.
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