Advice for arguing against plastic credit-type cards instead of card cards?

I’m possibly a bit late with this now (sorry Su!) but I just spotted this question and wondered if anyone had any advice/info/suggestions for further research.

Good friend of Recycle This and The Really Good Life Su asked:

Next week I am at a conference all week. One of the motions for discussion (which is supported) is about replacing union reps and H&S reps existing card cards with plastic credit card type. If this motion actually gets discussed (it probably won’t get prioritised) I intend to speak against the motion.

However, I need as much ‘ammunition’ as possible and wondered if anybody knew anything about the emissions released during manufacture, how long if ever, they take to degrade & anything else that might be relevant. Call this pre-emptive reducing!

I know that most credit cards are made from PVC which is hard to recycle, doesn’t readily breakdown and releases nasty chemicals if burned and during its manufacture – Greenpeace want PVC restricted/banned, as it already is in some European countries. It is possible (just a bit more expensive) to have credits cards made from PET (plastic code 1) — that’s a lot more widely recycled but still obviously uses resources in its manufacturing.

A bit of digging turned up this story from Slate magazine in 2009, which says about PVC cards:

It takes about 4.25 grams of petroleum to manufacture one 5-gram credit card. Multiply that by 1.6 billion — the number of credit, debit, and ATM cards produced in America in 2007 — and we’re looking at roughly 45,000 barrels of oil a year just to make the plastic that feeds our late-night eBay sprees. Granted, that’s a drop in the bucket compared with the 20 million barrels Americans consume daily. But those figures don’t include the billions of gift cards, loyalty cards, and store charge cards we stuff in our wallets each year.

And apparently:

In addition [to the petroleum], a variety of laminates, inks, dyes and other chemicals are used in their production.

Anyone else got anything else Su could use?

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One Response to “Advice for arguing against plastic credit-type cards instead of card cards?”

  1. Medeea says:

    This is not gonna help her argue her case, but 5 min ago I finished reading this article:
    Beth found a company that recycles the plastic cards. True recycling, not downcycling.
    I guess this could be a plan B.

    Best of luck winning the argument!
    Let us know how it went.

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