Card Industry Leads with Environmentally Conscious Initiatives

In the past year, there has been a heightened interest in cards made with recycled or renewable materials. Consumers view plastic cards as essential to their lifestyles but want to know if sustainable options exist.

They do, in fact.

The card industry has tapped into new “green” technologies and alternative materials, including the use of renewable raw and card component materials to reduce the consumption of natural resources in their production. Additionally, reduced PVC content and recycled PVC content are improving the overall carbon footprint of plastic cards and are considered part of environmentally friendly initiatives.

‘Green’ Initiatives
Mastercard has partnered with manufacturers IDEMIA and G+D Mobile Security GmbH to create the Greener Payments Partnership. This program will work to establish environmental best practices and reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing at scale.

Bilcare Research Srl launched a card-grade substrate made from 100% recycled PVC, called SICO-R.

“We were looking for a way to address environmental concerns and since we are running PVC-centric technology, we came up with the idea to recycle PVC. It’s a material we know very well and the recycled PVC works in our manufacturing processes,” said Marco Balatti, sales and marketing manager at Bilcare. “It is important to do our part for the environment and be a responsible company.”

Global plastic films supplier, Klöckner Pentaplast, recently created the Positive Plastics Pledge, a plan that outlines its current commitments and further sustainability goals for the next 10 years.

“The Positive Plastics Pledge calls for solutions that are more sustainable, provide excellent performance and create greater value for card manufacturers and their customers,” said Kent Sides, global corporate accounts manager, cards at Klöckner Pentaplast.

“Klöckner Pentaplast believes in sustainability because it is the right and necessary thing to do,” Sides added. “Two examples we have in the market right now are Pentacard SecondLife, which has a high percentage of post-industrial content and Pentacard kpLonglife, an overlay which creates durable long-life cards. It takes the place of first-use plastics.”

For cores, Klöckner Pentaplast uses a film that reduces plastic by making use of renewable, inorganic and post-industrial content.

CPI Card Group Inc. is focused on transforming plastic debris into products and recently launched, Second Wave™, a new payment card aimed at reducing the usage of first-use plastic and diverting plastic waste from entering the ocean. The company estimates that for every million Second Wave™ payment cards produced, more than one ton of plastic will be diverted from entering the world’s oceans, waterways and shorelines.

However, no matter what a card is made of, it has to be durable and live up to the technological requirements of modern cards—including EMV chips and contactless capacity—and stringent manufacturing standards.

“The goal isn’t to make 100,000 cards, but to develop a viable alternative for the billions of cards out there,” said David Tushie, International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA)’s standards and technical representative and CEO of Magellan Consulting Inc.

Eco-labeling for Card Manufacturers
Consumers are becoming savvier, embracing green practices and manufacturers are realizing the many practical short-term and long-term benefits of implementing environmentally conscious improvements.

More and more manufacturers are seeking eco-labels for a competitive advantage. Later this year, the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA) will launch its EcoLabel Standard Program, which establishes third-party credibility of card manufacturers’ claims that a product is an environmentally preferable alternative. The goal of the program is to implement an ICMA industry environmental card standard to enable member manufacturers to meet issuer and consumer demand.

With its EcoLabel Program, ICMA acts as an independent third-party organization providing guiding standards and credibility, defining criteria for environmental green card measures, licensing member manufacturers and offering best practices information.

Want More Industry Insider Insights or a Glimpse into Global Card Trends?
For three decades, ICMA has represented the interests of the card manufacturing industry—which includes manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers—as its leading global association.

ICMA offers regular educational opportunities, including the web-based Card Industry Training & Education program, which provides information on key areas of the industry, as well as tutorials and webinars from industry experts. ICMA also provides reports on the card market and on personalization and fulfillment statistics to keep members informed of emerging trends and changing forecasts.

Throughout the year, ICMA members have the opportunity to share insights and knowledge by giving presentations at ICMA events, webcasts and tutorials.

The organization hosts three conferences each year. The main event is the annual Card Manufacturing & Personalization EXPO and the other two conferences are CardTREX North America and CardTREX Europe.

To learn more about the benefits of ICMA membership, click here.