Taking a progressive step towards sustainability, Mastercard has announced a global initiative to start recycling credit and debit cards. The programme will see numerous cards saved from the landfill and properly recycled.

The pilot test will take place in partnership with HSBC UK across eight branches in the country. The participating branches are London Canary Wharf, Liverpool Allerton Road, Liverpool Lord Street, Leicester Clock Tower, Milton Keynes Midsummer Place, York Parliament Street, Birmingham New Street, and Birmingham Centenary Square.

Mastercard will provide HSBC with special shredding machines. Each machine can hold up to 10,000 cards, which amounts to 50kg of plastic. Once the machines are full, they will be transferred to an appropriate plastic recycling facility.

The pilot test will run for six months, and customers can recycle unused or expired cards – even rival bank cards. All the cards will be recycled into reusable plastic pellets.

Eventually, other banks globally will be able to follow suit as well – some of whom have a similar local initiative. 

Ajay Bhalla, the President of Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard Inc., extended the invite to card issuers worldwide. The goal is to offer card recycling to all customers, regardless of region or bank.

Mastercard currently has around 3.1 billion cards in circulation. It estimates that at least 600 million cards are produced every year by the industry, each with a three to five-year life span. 

The card recycling programme is just one of Mastercard’s initiatives to tackle global plastic waste. The brand has also developed and issued cards built from approved recycled, recyclable, and bio-sourced materials. 

These sustainable Mastercard cards offer alternatives to first-use PVC using recycled content such as rPVC, rPET, and rHDPE. Beginning 1st January 2028, customers can expect the first release of new, sustainable Mastercard payment cards.

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