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Recycled cards: a more sustainable way to pay

We now issue recycled plastic (rPVC) payment cards and will phase out single-use PVC cards by the end of 2026.

This is part of our strategy to reduce our carbon emissions and achieve net zero in our operations and supply chain by 2030, or sooner.

When can you receive a recycled card?

All cards we issue – including HSBC debit, credit and commercial cards – will now be made from 85% recycled plastic. As a next step, we’re planning to move to cards made from 100% recycled plastic.

In order to be as sustainable as possible, we’ll only replace your card when it naturally expires or is lost, stolen or damaged.

Why are we using recycled PVC plastic (rPVC)?

Conventional payment cards are made from polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVC). 

The industrial waste produced from this material is challenging. Across the world, 6 billion plastic payment cards are produced every year. 

Recycled PVC plastic (rPVC) has the same durability and expiry date (5 years) as the PVC product, but is less harmful to the planet as we’re using material that would otherwise be incinerated or sent to landfill. 

This is one of the steps we’re taking to reduce our carbon emissions and reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Environmental benefits of the new rPVC cards

The move to rPVC will reduce CO2 emissions by 161 tonnes a year and reduce plastic waste by 73 tonnes per year.1  

This is the CO2 equivalent of 36 flights between the UK and Hong Kong and the weight of over 40 cars in plastic waste.2   

These figures are based on the current volume of cards we issue per year (23 million).

Has anything else changed?

All of our cards now include accessibility features as standard, to support people living with dementia, visual impairments, learning difficulties, dyslexia and colour blindness. 

The accessible features include:

  • an arrow at the top and carved out notch at the bottom to indicate which way the card should be inserted into readers and ATMs
  • tactile raised dots to differentiate credit cards from debit cards and personal bank cards from business ones
  • flat printed card numbers, better contrasting colours and larger font to ensure card details are easier to read

Helping you make more sustainable choices

From using less plastic to saving energy and reducing waste, more of us are changing our habits and making eco-friendly purchasing decisions.

Small changes can, and do, add up – not only to benefit the environment, but to save you money too.

Explore: How to reduce your carbon footprint and save money


1. Source: IDEMIA
2. Source: The Measure Of Things