Bank of America Announces Transition to Recycled Plastic for Cards

Every year, millions of plastic cards are issued to banking customers across the country and around the globe. However, as concerns about the environment and the future of our planet rise, this practice has been called into question and several alternatives have been considered. Thus, in honor of Earth Day, one major bank is announcing plans to make their credit and debit cards a bit greener.

Earlier this week, Bank of America revealed that, starting in 2023, all of its plastic cards will be made from at least 80% recycled plastic. By the company’s estimates, the move will reduce more than 235 tons of single-use plastic. This figure is based on the bank’s annual issuance of 54 million consumer and small business cards.

Incidentally, surveys show that the majority of consumers are on board with shifts like these. According to a study conducted by Escalent this month, 72% of respondents said they were interested in environmental sustainability. Moreover, 69% of Bank of America customers surveyed said they were in favor of using recycled plastic for cards.

Commenting on the move, BofA’s head of Consumer and Small Business Products Mary Hines Droesch said, “Shifting to a recycled card product is another step toward a more sustainable solution which will help foster a circular economy. We are committed to incorporating sustainability throughout our business.”

Of course, BofA isn’t the first issuer to move to recycled plastics for their cards. In addition to the environmentally-focused FinTech neobank Aspiration making their debit cards from recycled ocean plastic, American Express uses similar sourcing for its aptly-named Green Card. Elsewhere, several companies have also begun making cards out of metal and/or relying exclusively on digital cards, with both of these moves helping to reduce the use of plastic.

Overall, an institution the size of Bank of America moving to recycled plastic for its cards could certainly have an impact on the amount of single-use plastics being used. Yet, while the move is both noble and notable, it unfortunately seems unlikely to have a major impact in the fight against climate change. Nevertheless, with a problem this large, the only way to move forward is to take small steps — which is exactly what BofA is doing. Perhaps, with gestures like this coupled with new technologies that can help us transition away from some physical goods, a difference really can be made over time.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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