Starling Bank launches debit cards made from recycled plastic

UK-based digital bank Starling Bank has introduced debit cards made of recycled plastic in a bid to boost its sustainability goals.

Claiming to be the UK’s first sustainable Mastercard debit card, it will be made from recycled plastic (rPVC), and the material, which makes up 75% of the card, has been sourced from EU industrial waste from printing and packaging industries. The other 25% of the card is made up of unavoidable non-recyclable elements, such as the card’s chip and magnetic strip.

Each kilo of rPVC will replace its equivalent of new PVC in the market, with two kilos of CO2 being saved for each kilo of the material used, it said.

Given how there are more than 97 million debit cards in circulation in the UK with the majority of them being made from first-use PVC, CEO and founder of Starling Bank Anne Boden said that launching a recycled plastic debit card was the need of the hour and “the right thing to do.”

Commenting on its aim of becoming greener, Boden added, “This new card comes with no deterioration in technical quality or capability, it simply supports people in their journey to become greener. We’re proud to be a branchless, paperless bank that runs on renewable energy. And now we’re delighted that we’re building on this with our new recycled cards.”

The bank said customers need not cancel their current cards for the new version. To avoid unnecessary waste, existing customers will receive the recycled card when their current one expires and new customers will be automatically issued the new card upon joining the bank.

This new move marks another step towards the bank’s sustainability goals. Starling recently became a founder signatory of the TechZero group to help tackle the climate crisis and extend its commitments for environmental goals like reaching net-zero carbon emissions and promoting green investments.

In October last year, Starling said it would plant a tree for every successful customer referral.

Highlighting the importance of more FinTechs going green, Mastercard senior vice president, product advancement, cyber & intelligence Paul Trueman said, “We are helping banks like Starling offer more eco-friendly cards to consumers – put simply, it’s better for the environment, it’s better for business and it meets evolving consumer needs.

“We’re delighted to see Starling making the first move in the UK and to see efforts on sustainability gaining traction across the globe.  We hope more organisations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these pressing environmental challenges.” 

The launch of Starling Bank’s latest card comes just days after the neobank secured £272m in capital via a Series D funding round led by Fidelity Investments, therefore, gaining unicorn status.

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