Credit cards are a paperless option, so it’s sensible to assume that they don’t damage the environment too much isn’t it?
Well, let’s not forget their key material: plastic. Most are made of PVC — a non-biodegradable fabric. So how much of a problem is this causing in the world today?
How do cards affect the planet?
Credit cards are widely used as they offer a simple payment solution, but unfortunately they can harm the planet, too.
This is largely down to the fact that they’re made from a plastic called PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), which releases carbon dioxide when burnt. Around 30,000 tons of it is used each year to produce credit cards and it’s usually tricky to destroy it in an eco-friendly way.
Although some areas — such as California — offer to recycle credit or debit cards, they often demand that cards remain fully intact. In other words, residents can’t cut up their devices. And for security reasons, banks generally wouldn’t advise customers to do this as it poses a threat to the leak of private details and information.
How could this be improved?
How can we make credit cards eco-friendly? The simple answer would be to switch to degradable plastic.
If manufacturers did this, they could massively reduce their carbon footprint. Some have already begun to design cards made with degradable PVC, which contain additives to encourage degradation in landfill and compost.
What can I do right now to help?
True, credit cards aren’t entirely eco-friendly, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad.
Credit cards tend to last for years, in comparison to paper money and cheques, so if you go completely cashless you could be helping to reduce your effect on the planet overall.
You could also donate rewards from your credit card account to an environmental cause, if this is something you feel strongly about.
The financial world is becoming more and more eco-friendly, so by managing your money well and researching the eco-friendliest options, you can ensure you are doing your bit for the planet.