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A first for the UK: Starling Bank launches recycled plastic debit cards

15th March 2021

15th March 2021, London: Starling, the leading digital bank, is introducing a recycled plastic debit card to support its efforts to protect the planet. The new card is the first UK Mastercard® debit card to be made from recycled plastic (rPVC). The material, which is sourced from EU industrial waste from printing and packaging industries, makes up 75% of the card.

There are more than 97 million debit cards in circulation in the UK1, and the majority of them are made from first-use PVC. The new rPVC cards will reduce demand for new plastic production. Each kilo of rPVC will replace its equivalent of new PVC in the market, with two kilos of CO2 being saved for each kilo of the material used. Only 25% of the card is made up of unavoidable non-recycled elements, including the card’s chip and magstripe.

Starling’s new cards mark another sustainable step forward for the bank, which recently became a founder signatory of the TechZero group. Along with 14 other high growth tech companies, Starling Bank joined the ‘Tech Zero taskforce’ to help tackle the climate crisis and make the UK the top global destination for green investment. Last year the digital bank, which is branchless and paperless, started planting thousands of trees to help improve forest protection.

The bank is asking customers not to cancel their current cards for the new version, as the design will remain the same and it will create unnecessary waste. Existing customers will receive the recycled card when their current one expires and new customers will be issued the card upon joining the bank.

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank said: “The environment is important to our customers, so launching a recycled plastic debit card was the right thing to do. This new card comes with no deterioration in technical quality or capability, it simply supports people in their journey to become more green. We’re proud to be a branchless, paperless bank that runs on renewable energy. And now we’re delighted that we’re building on this with our new recycled cards.”

Paul Trueman, Senior Vice President, Product Advancement, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard said: “We are helping banks like Starling offer more eco-friendly cards to consumers – put simply, it’s better for the environment, it’s better for business and it meets evolving consumer needs. We’re delighted to see Starling making the first move in the UK and to see efforts on sustainability gaining traction across the globe. We hope more organizations will join us, as we collectively use our power for good to address these pressing environmental challenges.”

The rPVC used for the card is drawn from Mastercard’s Sustainable Materials Directory, a directory of sustainable materials and vendors for card products.


About Starling Bank

Starling Bank is an award-winning, fully-licensed and regulated bank built to give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past. It offers personal, child, business, joint, euro and dollar current accounts alongside a range of lending products. Starling also provides B2B banking and payments services through its Banking-as-a-Service model based on the proprietary technology platform that it uses to power its own bank. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to a selection of third party financial services. Headquartered in London, it has offices in Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin.


Lucy Cafferkey, Starling Bank

Starling Bank Press Team

Dania Saidam, Mastercard

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