- Bank of America pledged to manufacture all of its plastic credit and debit cards from at least 80% recycled material beginning in 2023, according to a press release Thursday.
- The transition is an attempt to reduce the firm's carbon footprint by cutting down on single-use plastics, as new market research indicates nearly three-quarters of the bank’s consumers are interested in sustainability.
- The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender issues 54 million consumer and commercial cards per year, and estimates the switch will lead to a reduction of more than 235 tons of single-use plastics.
“Shifting to a recycled card product is another step toward a more sustainable solution which will help foster a circular economy,” Mary Hines Droesch, the bank’s head of consumer and small-business products, said in the press release. “We are committed to incorporating sustainability throughout our business.”
Bank of America anticipates the transition to recycled material across its entire credit and debit card portfolio will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water usage.
More than 72% of the bank's customers and small businesses are “interested in sustainability,” according to market research conducted this month by the consulting firm Escalent, Bank of America said in its release. More than 69% feel favorably toward credit and debit cards made with recycled plastic, the research also found.
The credit and debit cards made with recycled plastic will begin rolling out in 2023, and will feature a recycling logo.
Bank of America has also offered digital debit cards since 2019.
Banks on the other side of the Atlantic have transitioned to using eco-friendly cards. U.K.-based HSBC phased out single-use plastics in 2021, and switched to recycled plastic credit and debit cards.
Meanwhile, Spanish banks Santander and BBVA have both recently unveiled cards made of recycled materials. Santander pledged to transition all its debit, credit and prepaid cards in Europe to recycled material by 2025, before BBVA announced all of its cards would be manufactured with recycled materials by 2023, in all the countries in which the bank operates.
The green effort has extended to card networks, too. Douglas Sabo, Visa’s chief sustainability officer, told Payments Dive in an email last year the company's "partnerships in Europe have resulted in the first sustainable cards in some countries, including Ireland, where the central bank introduced a bio-sourced Visa debit card, and in Spain, where CaixaBank launched the first credit card made of 100% recycled plastic.”