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Mastercard is making a massive change to all of its credit and debit cards — the shift could affect billions of cards a year

Approximately 330 million tons of plastic waste are produced globally every year, with only 9% of that getting recycled.

Mastercard credit and debit cards

Photo Credit: iStock

One of the more deceptive aspects of our society’s reliance on plastic is how incredibly present it is in our lives. Even if you don’t want to use plastic products, they are nearly impossible to avoid. 

For example, if you want to have a credit or debit card, that’s going to be plastic. 

But luckily, Mastercard has announced that, starting in 2028, it will require all banks issuing its payment cards to use sustainable materials.

Those payment cards will still be made of plastic, but they will be made out of recycled or bio-sourced plastics (made from biomass materials, such as vegetable oil, corn starch, or sawdust). First-use PVC plastics, which are notoriously difficult to recycle, will be banned.

This is a big deal, as around six billion new Mastercards are produced each year. Since the company introduced an optional program in 2018 that began to study alternatives to PVC plastic cards, 170 million cards have been made out of recycled or bio-sourced materials. The rest will follow within the next five years.

Approximately 330 million tons of plastic waste are produced globally every year, with only 9% of that getting recycled and a huge amount finding its way into oceans. 

Plastic production also contributes massively to the overheating of our planet, as new plastic is made out of oil, gas, and coal, the mining of which produces tremendous quantities of planet-warming gases. The transport, refinement, and manufacturing processes also produce pollution. 

Mastercard is seeking to address the problem of making new plastic. By mandating that its cards are not made out of brand-new plastics, the company hopes to reduce its contribution to planet-heating pollution.

“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 a statement.

Hopefully, other companies will take note of Mastercard’s big move and also be motivated to reduce the amount of new plastic products they produce.

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