Bank of Ireland launches debit card made from corn

Bank of Ireland launched Ireland’s first bio-sourced Visa Debit Card last week. The new card is composed of 82% bio-sourced renewable materials made from field corn.

When the card’s lifespan is over, it takes just six months to break down. The card’s plastic equivalent (PVC cards) take around 400 years to decompose.

The card numbers have been flat printed instead of the traditional embossed print. This helps to make the card more durable and decreases the need for replacement.

The card is currently available to all third-level students and comes as research shows that young shoppers have been making more sustainable purchases over the past 12 months.

Research from Bank of Ireland (carried out by Red C) shows that younger shoppers are the most sustainably minded with 71% of those aged between 18 and 25 noting that they have made an effort to shop more sustainably over the last year.

This age group is also more willing to pay more of a premium for sustainable goods compared to the national average, with 69% willing to spend extra compared to the national average of 54%.

The bank’s research also shows that two-thirds of those surveyed say that environmentally-friendly packaging is the number one thing they look out for when making a purchase.

56% of those surveyed said that a key part of their decision-making process is checking if a product is locally-sourced or Fairtrade certified and has traceable origins. 45% of participants in the research say ensuring the product is cruelty-free is important to them.

Interestingly, the research also showed that 61% of consumers are supporting more local businesses since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Commenting on the launch of the new bio-sourced card, Gavin Kelly, CEO Retail, Bank of Ireland, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to responsible and sustainable business, we are delighted to introduce the brand-new Bank of Ireland bio-sourced Visa Debit Card to the Irish market, which is the first of this kind in Ireland.

We want to put sustainability in the hands of all our customers and give them the opportunity to go greener in their daily lives.

“While the card is available from today to third-level customers, our ambition is to roll the initiative out to all Bank of Ireland customers as we replace and update our cards over the next 18 months.”

Tillage farmers will no doubt be glad to see corn being used in the making of these cards. Increased uses for corn may help to increase demand and keep corn prices up, which may in turn support Irish grain prices.