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“Green” Plastic Cards? You Bet! Even Recycle ‘Em

If you’re looking for “green paper,” throw a dart. You’ll hit something. If you’re looking for green plastics for durable cards, CDs, DVDs, and other marketing devices, you’ve got a bigger challenge ahead.

This is one of the reasons I love LinkedIn. Its discussion groups offer a wealth of information on marketers’ experiences with such products. With vendors hawking the discussions, too, “where can I get this?” often spawns some terrific answers.

Most recently, someone asked about a durable card printed on both sides made of material that the marketer could say is “green.” He wanted something that looks and feels like a plastic credit card, but green angle was very important. The card also had to be durable and have at least a two-year life.

One recommendation? The Laser Clean card (offered by Brandt Affixing), which is made from 40% recycled content, all of which is PCW (post consumer waste.) It measures 9 mils in thickness and is designed to last over two years. Brandt Affixing offers integrated cards with laminates made from corn.

For heavier cards, Teraco offers a recycled product, EnviroCards, which is a plastic card made from a blend of pre- and post-consumer recycled plastic. Teraco claims that EnviroCards perform just like standard plastic cards and meet all ISO standard specifications. One neat feature is that customers can recycle the cards (or encourage their customers to recycle them) and send them back to Teraco to be recycled into . . . you guessed it! More EnviroCards.

Because the plastic used in the EnviroCards is recycled, it has a speckled, off-white look, and the actual shade varies with each run. For marketers who want to maintain the integrity of their colors, Teraco can flood coat a layer of white ink before it prints the artwork. However, you want the recycled look, you can keep the flecks, too.

Rachael Reinert (Martinez), marketing manager for Teraco, even has a blog “Our Culture and Plastic Cards.” Just in case you can’t get enough of the topic!

So, yes, you can have your cards and “green” marketing, too.

Like this post? View all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.

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  1. I’ve been wondering about this kind of product lately. I returned some merchandise to a store & received a store credit on one of their gift cards. Once I used the credit, I asked the cashier if they would reuse the card, and she told me they couldn’t reuse them & it got thrown away. Needless to say, I was unimpressed with this merchant’s policy.

    I hope more stores allow for reusing cards before resorting to trashing them, but I’m really glad to see a green option for the card itself. What sort of print process is used with these cards? Just curious.

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