Recycled Ocean Plastic Payment Cards

Jasmine Kurniawan | Uni: jk4493


Every year, approximately 6 billion payment cards are issued around the world. According to Mastercard, these are typically replaced every three to four years, leading to a total of 5.7 million tons of plastic in landfills.

PVC plastic currently makes up the majority of the world’s payment cards. This type of plastic is a salt and, more specifically, oil-based synthetic plastic polymer. This means that, although the material is long-lasting, it does not biodegrade naturally; instead, it holds its shape for decades before breaking down into tiny plastic fragments known as microplastics.

Tred Cards:

  • Tred is a financial services business headquartered in the United Kingdom that offers debit cards made from recycled ocean plastic, as well as an app that measures the user’s carbon footprint. 
  • Peter Kirby and Will Smith, co-founders, have spent years creating a millennial-friendly app that turns pounds spent into kilograms of CO2.The goal is to educate people about how excessive consumption, such as quick fashion, harms the environment. Users will look at colorful graphs that show what they’re doing to benefit – or hurt – the environment.
  • Tred customers are then sent a report that links their carbon spending to a £20 (€23) monthly subscription limit. Each subscription payment is used to offset carbon emissions through a certified Scottish tree-planting scheme.
  • Those who leave the least amount of carbon footprint are compensated with additional trees planted on their behalf by the organization.


Stakeholders include merchants since they rely on the point of sale system to accept the form of payment from the consumers and tree-planting organizations such as the Scottish Tree Planting LTD.


  • Educate consumers on the impact that their physical payment cards and their purchases have on the environment and the importance of being more mindful of their purchases
  • Generate a point system for consumer’s purchases and carbon footprint in order to determine the rewards system in which the organization will plant additional trees on the consumer’s behalf
  • Collaborate with merchants in order to find a more accurate carbon footprint measure of the products purchased by the consumer


3 thoughts on “Recycled Ocean Plastic Payment Cards

  1. Super interesting find Jasmine! I also read more about this and it says that the users are able to link their personal app to this app such as your banking app to see the expenses you have to evaluate the carbon footprint and be more conscious of your purchasing decisions!


  2. Very intersting post. It was my first time to realize this technology. As I search a bit more, CPI card group use rPETG that apprently indicates a upcycled plastic. Upcycle refers to giving a scond life and new function for plastic waste. In addition to make their credit card with plastic waste, they also make EMV chip and antenna based on upcycled plastic. It seems that VISA actively make partnerships with various companies to protect the enviornment. I personally find very intersting on this topic. Thank you


  3. Hi Jasmine, Thank you for sharing this! I also found the Tred debit card to be super interesting and novel. The idea of using 25 plastic straws to create the debit card and track individual cardowner’s carbon footprint using a algorithm to assign emissions to their purchases seems like a great way to generate awareness. From a cursory glance, it was motivating that Tred evaluates all the offset projects that cardowners can chose from, ensuring they are all certified. I’m curious how Tred collected the data sets to assign carbon emissions amounts for each purchase.


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