NatWest trials card recycling machines

Friday 3 February 2023 09:04 CET | News

UK-based NatWest has launched a trial of ‘reverse vending machines’ designed to collect unused plastic cards in a secure manner so that they can be recycled.


The announcement details that the machines have been introduced to target expired plastic and debit cards, which the bank estimates there are 65 million of ‘gathering dust’ in people’s wallets, purses, and drawers. Furthermore, NatWest calculated that due to a lack of recycling options for plastic payment, gift, and loyalty cards, more than 380 tonnes of plastic waste have been created since 2017 in the UK.

Sustainability and what the solution entails

The reverse vending machines have been installed at Victoria Place and Canary Wharf shopping centres, two additional units were delivered to Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals in partnership with the NHS, and the machines are free to be used, regardless of whether the user is a customer of NatWest.

After it is fed into a machine, each card is shredded so that customer details are wiped, and the resulting pieces are stored in a secure manner. After pickup, the plastic waste is transported to a recycling facility via an electric vehicle, where the first cards are set to be repurposed into hats and socks for London’s homeless.

Leveraging blockchain technology makes it possible to track what the plastic from each machine has been turned into and calculate the carbon and energy that was saved as a result. Furthermore, the machines are also set to accept both card readers and plastic bottles for recycling.

UK-based NatWest has launched a trial of ‘reverse vending machines’ designed to collect unused plastic cards in a secure manner so that they can be recycled.

As per information provided in the announcement, the pilot builds on NatWest’s introduction of environmentally friendly debit and credit cards, which are made of 86% recycled material and are expected to help save over 50 tonnes of PVC plastic a year.

Additionally, it comes of the back of research by NatWest, which discovered that 62% of consumers have unused payment, gift, and loyalty cards at home. What is more, over 6.6 million people have the wrong assumption that plastic cards can be recycles via traditional methods, and the confusion of whether the plastic cards are recyclable or not leads to the contamination of an approximate of 10.2 million batches of recycling.

Furthermore, two thirds of people also name security as being a major concern when binning their old cards, with the standard practice of having them cut up and scattering the pieces across multiple bins to avoid fraud oftentimes contaminating several batches of recycling at the same time.

NatWest officials hope the trial would help positively impact plastic pollution in the UK and reassure customers who are unsure of how to dispose of their used cards, with company officials stating that they urge local commuters, shoppers and passers-by from across London to look for their expired cards and contribute towards the changing of plastic pollution in the city.

As detailed in the announcement, the launch follows trials at NatWest's Edinburgh and London offices in 2022, which saw over 35,000 cards and 2,000 bottles recycled into more than 3,000 hats and pairs of socks, 400 of which were donated to homelessness charity Social Bite.

More: Link

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: product launch, sustainability , green finance, credit card, debit card, blockchain, payments , research, fraud prevention, banking
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: NatWest
Countries: United Kingdom
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


Discover all the Company news on NatWest and other articles related to NatWest in The Paypers News, Reports, and insights on the payments and fintech industry: