Environmental impact of plastic vs metal cards

(Ed) #1

How would the more environmentally conscious of us feel about metal cards? Obviously overall production cost becomes an issue with this; but would this be better than plastic?

I wonder if there are any card manufacturers that offer recycled plastic options - perhaps not ideal for the super conscious (as plastic is plastic)


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(Kyle Risi) #2

metal cards as with coins may have a bigger carbon footprint because extracting metals is environmentally damaging and energy-intensive. Metal has to be mined, smelted, transported.

Interesting read,

For every bank card we have in our wallets, many of us have probably handled 1000 times more banknotes, and polymer ones at that, If I want a new debit card then that’s my prerogative, I would like to think I am still doing my bit for the environment by choosing to live my life as cashless as possible.

Edit: Sorry @_ed that last paragraph wasn’t aimed at you specifically, that was in response to the general conversation around the desire to replace my debit card :+1:


Given the concern about the environmental impact of issuing all of these new cards (and presumably of cards in general) perhaps Monzo could investigate the practicalities not offering some sort of card recycling service where old cards can be returned to Monzo for recycling?

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(Ray) #4

I suspect this isn’t feasible, with the chips inside the card and all. Nice idea though.

(Ed) #5

Metal has been used by some companies in the past. Most notably the “premium” credit cards are often made of metal.


I hope Monzo would consider carbon neutral cards or made from recycled plastics in future.
I think it’s a valid point that new cards will have some impact on the environment but people just need to calm down a bit on criticism

(Ray) #7

Sorry, I meant recycling plastic cards wouldn’t be feasible.

(Ed) #8

I agree. What people do with themselves is their own business.

Businesses on the other hand benefit by appealing to broader communities and with everything going eco-friendly this could be Monzo’s next marketing strategy :wink:

(Neil M) #9

Gets out Sharpie

(Michael) #10

Use recycled metal - like aluminium similar to Apple with the new MacBook Air.

I’d definitely be interested, and also willing to pay the cost of a metal card.


If they’re doing it as a marketing strategy only, I feel it pretty cheap. Concern about the environment shouldn’t just be because it’ll get you more customers.

Personally I think recycled metal cards and contactless payments such as Apple/Android Pay are the future, as plastic cards have to be replaced very regularly because of wear and tear. Perhaps MasterCard and Visa could eliminate actual card numbers for things that aren’t virtual cards also, and require banks to issue virtual cards. This would allow us to make cards last until they’re lost - as opposed to when they expire. (I’m assuming that we can freeze card and order a new one from every banking app by this time)

(James Wheatley) #12

Personally, I would scrap cash and bank cards, just move everything to contactless on my phone.


I like that idea I just don’t think it would practial at the moment maybe for the majority of under 30s it would be fine but you have the remember the rest of the population as well


Also slightly related to this are all the plastic loyalty cards people are getting, though more and more are ending up on peoples phone which is also a good thing

(James Wheatley) #15

Yeah, I’m aware this is very far off in the future and for some, they will never want to move away from either because it is what they know and don’t want to change but I can dream.

We can only encourage the ones around us to make good choices, without being pushy about it.


I wouldn’t like to be without money if someone stole my phone quickly though. Card is much better in my opinion also, compared to cash and contactless.

(Dave) #17

The Co-operative Bank issue debit and credit cards made without using PVC which makes them easier to recycle (though in my experience they wear out faster as they seem a bit “softer”). Triodos issues a biodegradable debit card. I remember reading on a forum somewhere that metal cards are hard to recycle as they still have a plastic core (or plastic in them somewhere).

(Ray) #18

Wouldn’t work for my 70-something mum (although she loves her “tap tap” card :joy:)!


It would be great if Monzo could look into issuing cards made of ‘natural’ plastics/renewable resources such as those issued by Triodos Bank.:seedling: