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Starling goes green: Bank launches debit cards made from recycled plastic

Starling’s new bank card will be the first Matercard-powered card to be made from recycled plastic here in the UK.

a black rectangular device

Starling Bank

In another step towards becoming a greener bank, Starling has today made recycled plastic debit cards the norm for its customers.

Starling’s recycled card will be the first UK Mastercard to be made from recycled materials and is made up of 75 per cent recycled plastic that has been sourced from EU industrial waste from the printing and packaging industries.

The remaining 25 per cent of the card is made up of unavoidable non-recyclable elements, such as the card’s chip and magnetic strip. 

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank said: “The environment is important to our customers, so launching a recycled plastic debit card was the right thing to do.”

“This new card comes with no deterioration in technical quality or capability, it simply supports people in their journey to become more green. 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 digital bank is asking its customers not to cancel their current cards to get the new recycled version, rather wait until their card expires and they received the new recycled card. 

Paul Trueman, senior vice president of product advancement, cyber & intelligence at Mastercard added: “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 organizations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these pressing environmental challenges.”

According to Starling, two kilos of CO2 will be saved for each kilo of recycled material used in the new debit cards compared to the previous version.

Despite calls from customers to change the card designs for the joint and current account cards, the designs will remain the same across all accounts. 

Earlier this month, Boden became a founding member of the TechZero group along with the CEOs of 14 other high-growth fintechs.

The group created a ‘Tech Zero taskforce’ with shared commitments for environmental goals like reaching net-zero carbon emissions and promoting green investments. 

In October 2020, Starling also revealed that it would plant a tree for every successful customer referral, following in the footsteps of dutch challenger bunq, which has planted more than 2.1m trees to date. 

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