Santander has introduced a pilot card recycling scheme in some branches, allowing people to recycle expired or unused plastic cards such as debit and credit cards.
Specialised self-service machines allow people to shred their unwanted cards into more than a hundred pieces, so they can have peace of mind they are securely disposed of, the bank said.
The machines are free for anyone to use, not just Santander customers, the bank said.
The cards will be recycled into plastic pellets, ready to be reused.
The pilot is expected to last for up to six months, before Santander confirms the next steps.
Credit and debit cards tend to be made up of several layers of laminated plastic, metal oxide particles, solvents, inks and a magnetic strip.
They may take hundreds of years to break down after going to landfill, Santander said.
Fermin Martinez de Hurtado Yela, head of sustainability and responsible banking at Santander UK, said: “Bank cards are traditionally very difficult to recycle.
“With 92 million debit cards and 60 million credit cards currently in UK circulation, it is a significant challenge and one that we want to play our part in helping.”
Here are the south London branches involved in the pilot card recycling scheme, with their postcode:
– Bromley, BR1 1NA
– Lewisham, London, SE13 6AQ
– Peckham, London, SE15 4TG