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Starling Bank Launches UKs First Recycled Plastic Debit Cards

Starling, a UK digital bank, is introducing a recycled plastic debit card to support its efforts to protect the planet. The new card is the first UK Mastercard debit card to be made from recycled plastic (rPVC). The material, which is sourced from EU industrial waste from printing and packaging industries, makes up 75% of the card.

There are more than 97 million debit cards in circulation in the UK and the majority of them are made from first-use PVC. The new rPVC cards will reduce the demand for new plastic production. Each kilo of rPVC will replace its equivalent of new PVC in the market, with two kilos of CO2 being saved for each kilo of the material used. Only 25% of the card is made up of unavoidable non-recycled elements, including the card’s chip and magstripe.

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.”

Starling’s new cards mark another sustainable step forward for the bank, which recently became a founder signatory of the TechZero group. Along with 14 other high growth tech companies, Starling Bank joined the ‘Tech Zero taskforce’ to help tackle the climate crisis and make the UK the top global destination for green investment. Last year the digital bank, which is branchless and paperless, started planting thousands of trees to help improve forest protection.

The bank is asking customers not to cancel their current cards for the new version, as the design will remain the same and it will create unnecessary waste. Existing customers will receive the recycled card when their current one expires and new customers will be issued the card upon joining the bank.

Paul Trueman, Senior Vice President, Product Advancement, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard said: “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 organisations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these pressing environmental challenges.”

The rPVC used for the card is drawn from Mastercard’s Sustainable Materials Directory, a directory of sustainable materials and vendors for card products.


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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