Environmentally conscious people are increasingly concerned about their choices to benefit the environment such as reusable water bottles or public transport. But the way we pay for everything we buy also has an impact on the environment. In recent years, eco-friendly credit cards have emerged as a way for you to have an extra choice in the awareness of protecting the environment.
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Eco-friendly credit cards can donate to green activities, helping you offset your carbon footprint. These cards are even made from biodegradable or recycled materials.
However, a credit card that is “good” for the environment is a difficult premise. Many of these card issuers invest in fossil fuels. Plus, credit cards make you more inclined to buy things, and the very act of consumption contributes to climate change in many ways.
So what makes a credit card “eco-friendly”? What can you do to make your own spending habits with a credit card more eco-friendly?
Make cards with sustainable materials
Banks are switching from first-time plastic in traditional credit cards to recycled plastics such as recycled PVC and plastics recovered from the oceans for eco-friendly cards. However, any use of plastic, even when recycled or recycled, can harm the environment. When plastics are recycled, they break down, releasing nanoparticles and microparticles into the water used to recycle them. Even if plastic finds a second life like a credit card, it will eventually find its way back to the landfill. Perhaps a metal credit card would be a better choice for the environment, which is more durable and easier to recycle.
Contributing to the environment
If you want to use an eco-friendly credit card to help raise money for a cause you care about, use it. There are many Environmental Nonprofits doing important work around the world and they rely heavily on donations. And by donating, what they really need is money. So the donations they receive through eco-friendly credit cards can be a financial relief for them.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that using your credit card more often is healthier for the planet. You won’t know if these donations will actually offset the huge carbon footprint of buying TVs, smartphones, new furniture and other resource-intensive consumer goods. An alternative is simply to donate money directly to charities instead of shopping out of control with a credit card.
Offset your ecological footprint
You need to be responsible for the negative impact you leave on the environment. With carbon offsetting, you’re essentially helping fund an environmental support project somewhere in the world, eliminating the carbon footprint of your own actions.
In recent years, several carbon offset credit cards have been issued to make environmental impact payments easier. They partner with carbon offset organizations to plant forests and other vehicles. Some even report your carbon footprint during your purchase and recommend you make a more informed buying decision.
Carbon offsetting may also help, although data on the effectiveness of these programs have not been specifically reported. Anything that helps you think about the environmental impact of your purchase is a good thing. If you choose a credit card that offers carbon offsets, check with the environmental organizations they support so you can see how much impact you can make.
Reduce the physical card
What card issuers can do is remove physical cards altogether to limit plastic products. Perhaps in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of mobile and contactless payments has regained inspiration around the world. A 2021 Visa V study found that 85% of consumers expect digital options when they shop in person, including contactless credit cards, mobile payment apps and mobile wallets. And if contactless payment options are what customers want, card issuers can find solutions that reduce the need for physical cards.
Make small choices to protect the environment
What is considered “recyclable” may depend on your area’s recycling program rules. That means putting recyclables in the recycling bin is eco-friendly.
Credit card plastics are difficult to recycle in part because of their magnetic chips and stripes. If you want to send your old card for recycling, you can save money by sharing costs and bags with friends who also want to safely dispose of their cards.