When we’re referring to plastic cards we’re referring to plastic membership cards, loyalty cards or gift cards. The kind of plastic card that is used in retail environments, to promote the brand or foster brand-loyalty. Things like loyalty cards used to be a rare thing; however, they are now widespread. But have you ever wondered whether these plastic cards are good for the environment?
You think that paper cards are a more environmentally conscious because they come from renewable sources, i.e. trees. But tree consumption itself is a big problem, and it’s estimated that the UK consumes 11 million tonnes of paper every year. These days, lots of paper comes from sustainable sources, but certainly not all of it.
Plastic cards are obviously produced without the need to fell a single tree. The production of a plastic card does require energy, but think about this: a plastic card can be used over and over again, so, technically, one card could last a lifetime. Paper tends to be very transient, you use it once and it begins to degenerate.
What about biodegradable plastic? Whilst plastic may be tough, it can now be produced to be biodegradable. This means that when it is disposed off it will degrade in the environment, and leave no plastic waste. If there’s a problem with plastic it’s that, traditionally, plastic would linger for a long time in the environment – no longer, and bio PVC can be disposed off much more effectively.