Mastercard introduces global pilot program for credit card recycling
Mastercard has launched a pilot program to recycle expired payment cards around the world, as the company makes strides in its plan to remove polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics from all payment cards on its network by 2028.
Through collaboration with recycling partners, the card manufacturer will offer banks comprehensive services to ensure the secure disposal, collection, transportation, and recycling of cards.
The company highlights that the majority of the 25 billion payment cards currently in circulation are made from non-biodegradable first-use plastics, such as PVC, meaning they often end up in oceans and landfills.
Mastercard’s cyber and intelligence president, Ajay Bhalla, said: “We’re calling on all card issuers to take the next step by working with us to provide recycling for existing first-use plastic cards. We can provide our expertise and connect them with our recycling partner to organise programs of their own, maximising impact with minimal cost and effort.”
Secure collection boxes inside bank branches will allow cardholders to drop off expired payment cards, where they will be shredded onsite within the collection box, ensuring the protection of card information and the destruction of the built-in chip.
The shredded waste will be sent to the recycling partners where it will undergo separation and smelting to get transformed into new products, including recycling the metal chip.
The new initiative builds on the company’s efforts to get its customers to switch to cards made from recycled, biodegradable and ocean plastics.
The cards will help form Mastercard’s global certification scheme for approved sustainable material use in its payment products. A Greener Payments Partnership (GPP) has been formed by Mastercard and card manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke+Devrient and IDEMIA in a bid to establish sourcing practices and reduce non-recyclable plastic use in card manufacturing.
Since 2021, more than 403 financial institutions and fintech firms across 92 countries have joined Mastercard in its sustainable payment initiative.
The company has issued 235 million Mastercard cards made from approved recycled, recyclable, and bio-sourced materials, including recycled ocean plastic and bioplastics derived from sugar or corn, as part of its Sustainable Card Program.
Earlier this year, Mastercard, which has a net-zero target for 2050, revealed its plan to exclusively produce newly manufactured plastic payment cards using sustainable materials, including recycled or bio-sourced plastics, starting from 1 January 2028.
HSBC and Mastercard have also launched a pilot program for card recycling at selected branches in the UK, in collaboration with the recycling brand, TerraCycle.
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