The first green credit card has been announced! Offered by Discover, it is the industry’s first biodegradable plastic credit card. The biodegradable PVC is designed when exposed to soil and moisture.
Discover Financial Services has introduced a biodegradable credit card that breaks down when exposed to microorganisms, New York Times reports.
The company behind Discover’s biodegradable card is BIOPVC, which has not patented the idea for fear the secret would get out.
Paul Kappus, Jr., the owner and president of BIOPVC, says the additive is something that acts like a bait to microorganisms. When the microbes are attracted to the BIOPVC, they consume the carbon in the product, and decompose it into CO2, water and a mild salt. Kappus says no toxic vinyl chloride remains.
In 2006, there were nearly 1.5 billion credit cards in use in the U.S., according to United States Census Bureau. A stack of all those credit cards would be almost as tall as 13 Mount Everests.
Corporations like GE, MetaBank, and Barclaycard have also issued their own versions of green credit cards. Most allows users to reduce their carbon footprint by using their rewards to purchase carbon offsets or investing the rewards in green projects.
It’s great that Discover invested in the R&D to come up with a biodegradable card. But now that they’ve taken that step they should ensure that it has an impact. Otherwise, the only effect will be to draw some superficially eco-conscious credit card users, while other card members enjoy cutting up their cards whenever they expire and upgrading them to a new fancy design whenever they get tired of the old one.
“Once we see how consumers respond, we may consider making this design option available on other Discover Card designs,” Tufts said in an email.
I’m sure Discover will convert to all biodegradable plastic if the initiative comes from their customers. But this is not environmental stewardship, this is a marketing ploy. If you have to have a credit card, Discover’s biodegradable one is not a bad option. But it’s not really green.