" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Natwest Launch Debit And Credit Card Recycling Machine
Thursday, March 30, 2023
City Week 2023

Natwest Launch Debit And Credit Card Recycling Machine

The latest research from NatWest reveals a lack of recycling options for plastic payment, gift and loyalty cards has created over 380 tonnes of plastic card waste since 2017, equivalent to 211 stampeding elephants.

NatWest has today launched a first-of-its-kind ‘Reverse Vending Machines’ offering a secure, eco-friendly way to recycle unused plastic cards of which there are 65 million gathering dust in peoples’ homes, or sat idly in their wallets and bags. The new machine will also accept card readers and plastic bottles for recycling.  In their new London locations, the Reverse Vending Machines are free to use for everybody, regardless of whether they are a NatWest customer.

The design, manufacture and trial of the bespoke Reverse Vending Machines began in the wake of COP26 and are now launching to the public, available initially in London, one of the UK’s plastic pollution hubs. The first machines will be situated at Victoria Place and Canary Wharf Shopping Centres, offering easy access to shoppers and commuters. Two machines will also be placed in Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals, in partnership with the NHS.

This follows trials last year at NatWest’s Edinburgh and London offices, where over 35,000 cards and 2,000 bottles gathered from testing sites have already been recycled into over 3,000 hats and pairs of socks. Over 400 of these garments were donated to Social Bite in December as part of their ‘Festival of Kindness’ for homeless and vulnerable communities in London.

The pilot launch builds on the recent introduction of NatWest’s environmentally friendly debit and credit cards made of 86% recycled material – a move expected to save over 50 tonnes of PVC plastic.

The research also found that:

  • 62% of consumers have unused payment, gift and loyalty cards lying around at home
  • Over 6.6 million people wrongly assume that plastic cards are recyclable via traditional methods.
  • More than 76 million payment, loyalty and gift cards (380 tonnes of plastic) have ended up in UK landfills by default in the last five years
  • Confusion whether or not you could recycle plastic cards has led to the contamination of an estimated 10.2 million batches of recycling, due to well-intentioned consumers throwing their cards into recycling bins
  • With 68% of people citing personal security as a main concern when binning their old payment cards, the practice of cutting them up and scattering the pieces across various bins to avoid fraud only exacerbates the problem, contaminating several batches of recycling at one time.

Alison Rose, CEO at NatWest Group said: “Recycling our plastic cards and card readers are just two simple ways to make a positive impact on plastic pollution in the UK.

But we know that the recycling guidance can be unclear for customers due to the security concerns of council-run recycling pick-ups. That’s why we are tackling this issue head-on by piloting our Reverse Vending Machines near London’s busiest transport hubs and largest hospitals and introducing sustainable credit and debit cards to all our customers.

I urge local commuters, shoppers and passers-by from across London to search their homes for expired plastic cards, and join us in shifting the dial on plastic pollution in the UK’s capital city.”

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