BBVA recycles close to 90,000 credit and debit cards in Spain in just three months

BBVA has promoted the recycling of almost 90,000 cards, thanks to a collaboration agreement with environmental foundations ECOASIMELEC and ECOPILAS, both of which form part of RECYCLIA, Spain’s largest organisation for the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and light fittings. The cards collected in the period since the end of 2020 represent a reduction of 447 kg in this type of waste. In addition to facilitating the management of this waste and caring for the environment, the BBVA initiative promotes a circular economy based on the four R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.

BBVA has set up a process for collecting credit and debit cards for recycling in order to promote the circular economy in Spain. The initiative seeks to avail of resources by giving them another life and returning them to the market in a new form that contributes to the conservation of the environment. This initiative, launched at the end of December, allows BBVA customers to hand in their damaged or expired cards at branches. Thus far, a total of 85,962 cards have been recycled, with 90% of the raw materials of which the cards are composed being reused to produce new products. On average, BBVA issues approximately 950,000 cards a quarter -3.8 million a year-, due to expiry, theft, loss or new issues. This first collection campaign has enabled around 10% of the total quarterly average to be recycled.

The recycling of BBVA cards and the recovery of the elements of which they are composed has allowed the cards collected to be reused almost in their entirety. The raw materials have been given a second life through the creation of other materials or by recovering energy through the incineration of 3.8% of the material, using controlled processes that prevent noxious gas emissions. Moreover, the selective collection of these cards facilitates waste management in recycling plants.

“In recent years, BBVA has undertaken numerous initiatives to protect the environment, placing sustainability at the heart of our business. Actions such as card recycling and promotion of the circular economy once again reflect our clear and firm commitment to society and nature,” said Roberto Pagán, Head of Payment Methods at BBVA in Spain.

Card recycling comes in addition to environmental commitments previously acquired by BBVA through the implementation of practices for the reuse and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, as well as batteries. These practices have been carried out through the agreement with the RECYCLIA foundations as well as through other reuse initiatives. BBVA was the first bank in Europe to launch a recycled PVC (polyvinyl chloride) card, made of waste plastic materials from the packaging and automotive sectors. The financial institution is committed to continue improving this product until it is 100% recycled, including elements such as microchips.

BBVA customers can also hand in VIA T electronic toll devices at branches, which are then analysed to see if they can be reused. If not, they are sent to the recycling plant, thereby ensuring compliance with the relevant regulations through Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes. Next week alone will see the recycling of 76,270 VIA T units with a total weight of approximately 1,500 kilograms.