MasterCard pledges to switch payment cards made of recycled plastics by 2028

GLOBAL – MasterCard has decided to withdraw its first-use PVC plastic gradually from its payment network by replacing it with cards made from recycled plastics by 2028.

Starting in 2028, the company will require all banks issuing one of its payment cards to use sustainable materials as it seeks to remove first–use, PVC plastics from its network. Acceptable alternatives include recycled or bio-sourced plastics.

The move comes as experts increasingly worry about the toll the global addiction to plastic will take on worldwide efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Plastic was responsible for 1.8 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, or 3.4% of the global total, more than the percentage contributed by the aviation sector.

“Mastercard is committed to advancing climate action and reducing waste by driving our business toward net zero emissions and leveraging our network and scale to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, regenerative economy,” Ellen Jackowski, Mastercard’s chief sustainability officer, said in the statement.

It’s long been known that the plastic popularly used to make cards — polyvinyl chloride, or PVC — cannot be produced sustainably, and that it’s technologically challenging to recycle the material.

The Group head of Retail Banking and Strategy, wealth, and Personal Banking at HSBC, Taylan Turan, mentioned that new materials such as rPVC offer the sector the possibility of facilitating its efforts in building a more sustainable future.

In addition, HSBC has already started recycling plastic payment cards across 28 of its global markets and fixed the requirements to use sustainable materials for all debit cards and commercial cards in its product governance.

Commenting on the initiative, Ajay Bhalla, the president of Cyber and intelligence at MasterCard, said that the company is working towards achieving a more environmentally friendly conscious future.

In October last year, Mastercard collaborated with the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) to launch 100% recycled cards.

This long-term initiative is part of the bank’s ongoing efforts to embed environmental sustainability within its daily operations.

In addition to the bank’s continuous strides towards implementing ESG practices, NBB will now produce all of its credit and prepaid cards with 100% recyclable material to reduce the bank’s environmental impact, plastic waste and pollution.

The initiative would be implemented on all newly procured cards in line with NBB’s commitment to responsible banking.

Through the partnership, NBB aims to decrease its annual production of plastic after studies revealed that around 6 billion payment cards are produced annually and replaced every 3 to 5 years, resulting in an increase in harmful landfill waste across the world.

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