Home » Recyclability » Are Credit Cards Recyclable – Eco Guide 2023

Are Credit Cards Recyclable – Eco Guide 2024

When you need to replace your old credit card, you may wonder what happens to it after. Most people get a new credit card and completely forget about the old one.

This begs the question, are credit cards recyclable? What happens to obsolete credit cards? The truth is they’re probably collecting dust somewhere in a junk drawer.

This guide is going to address the issue of whether or not credit cards are recyclable, how they can be recycled, and what they’re recycled into.

What are credit cards made of?

Banking cards are a vital and convenient part of your financial life. You use them to make purchases, withdraw cash from ATMs, and earn rewards on your purchases. But what exactly are credit cards made of?

The answer is a blend of materials depending on the type of credit card you have. They may include a plastic case to support the cards’ function, a magnetic strip that stores your account information, and metal oxide particles.

This means that the way you dispose of them or recycle them is supposed to be adapted to the components within the card itself.

Are credit cards recyclable?

With no clear regulations in place regarding the disposal of credit cards, many people simply destroy the card by breaking it into pieces and throwing it in the trash. The problem with this is that you’re contributing to the toxic trash that’s piling up in the landfills.

But, is it possible to recycle credit cards? Absolutely. And while it’s a difficult process, you can actually recycle your credit cards. These banking cards are made of mainly plastic.

The type of plastic is referred to as PVCA (polyvinyl chloride Acetate). This plastic can be recycled, however, the process is extremely difficult due to the acetate.

With this compound in the cards, it’s impossible to recycle them together with the other plastics and only a few companies are equipped, and even fewer are willing to take on the challenge.

The recycling process is vastly different than what’s done for other plastics such as milk bottles, for example. As much as there aren’t many recycling centers that accept banking cards, it’s important to make an effort and find a place that will receive them.

Tossing them in the trash means that you’re releasing harmful plastic into the environment that will continue to affect the health of our oceans, and wildlife. You should be able to find at least one recycler that deals with PVCA.

What are the benefits of recycling credit cards?

The benefits of recycling should be a no-brainer. Wouldn’t you rather do your part in helping the environment instead of contributing to it?

The recycling process has a number of benefits that makes it a worthwhile task. Recycling actually helps create new products, it reduces the amount of waste that’s incinerated and helps create jobs for people.

It provides an alternative to landfills for toxic plastic and other household items. Besides creating new products, recycling also helps save on energy, water and other resources used in the manufacturing process.

The process itself is done by energy-efficient machines and has a lower impact on the environment. Recycling plastic saves money for companies and means that fewer new materials are needed to make the same products.

Let’s also think about what plastic does to the environment when disposed of. According to the EPA, plastic pollution moves through the natural environment from one end to another.

It can’t be stopped since it’s too big and durable for that. Scientists estimate that 70% of the plastic that enters the ocean survives for about 500 years and is then consumed by marine life, an example being fish and turtles.

When marine life is unable to remove these pollutants from its bodies, they will be passed from predator to predator until it reaches us, humans.

In other words, plastic always finds a way back to us.

Final Thoughts

With all these facts in mind, it’s clear that recycling is the way to go. Even though it’s a complex process and not available in many places at the moment, recycling credit cards should become a standard practice.

If we start doing this now, there’s no doubt that our children will grow up in a cleaner environment. We’ve all heard about recycling cans and bottles but many of us don’t realize that we can recycle credit cards too.

Knowing how to recycle credit cards is an essential part of becoming environmentally friendly.


What should I do with old credit cards?

You can definitely recycle your old credit cards. But before you throw them in the trash find a nearby recycler that accepts these kinds of materials. Then clean them and make sure you don’t have any private information on the back of the cards.

If everything checks out, then recycle away!

Can you recycle credit and debit cards?

Yes, you can recycle debit and credit cards.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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