Can’t live without that plastic in your pocket? Well, you can now have it crafted out of the planet’s precious assets.
Treecard, a fintech startup based in London, reimagines the debit card—which has earned itself the now-unfortunate moniker of ‘plastic’—with sustainably-sourced wood and recycled plastic bottles. Its cards aren’t just here to appeal to the design senses of MUJI and Japandi enthusiasts, but they also aim to give back to the planet when you tap or swipe them.
Treecards are fully functional, and they can be used anywhere in the world that accepts MasterCard. They connect to your existing bank account and are compatible with digital wallets including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as work with your Venmo account.
There is, of course, a sound reason that credit and debit cards have always been constructed out of plastic. The material is preferred for its pocket-friendliness, both in terms of its affordability and resistance to being scratched in your pocket. Notably, when it comes to durability, the wooden debit cards won’t hold a candle to their plastic counterparts, though Treecard says they’ve been tested to endure day-to-day use, including on ATMs.
Being made out of an organic material, the chic wood cards will need to be handled more delicately than with the fossil fuel-based versions. Owners are advised not to soak, bend, or rub their Treecards to maximize their use.
Addressing concerns that making debit cards out of trees “defeats the point,” Treecard explains that manufacturing them out of organic and recycled materials is an overall more eco-friendly option. “Wood is a great material to use if it’s sourced sustainably and the core of the card is made from recycled plastic bottles,” the company details.
A single cherry tree, which the firm sources sustainably from the UK, can be turned into more than 300,000 wooden debit cards, “which means we’ll never need to use more than a couple of trees for our cards,” says Treecard.
Treecard is putting its money where its mouth is in its vision for sustainability by planting a tree for every US$50 spent with the card. The card is powered by nonprofit search engine Ecosia, which oversees tree-planting projects in over 30 countries, including Burkina Faso, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, Spain, Tanzania, and Uganda. Together, the pair hope to “build an ecosystem of responsible alternatives to everyday services like banking and internet search.”
80% of merchant fees will also be dedicated to reforestation funds, and Treecard promises to never give its earnings to projects that enable the generation or use of fossil fuels or deforestation activities.
Customers will receive rewards that also hit home, such as treehouse retreats, free entries to National Parks, and scenic tours on transparent kayaks. These will be available to US owners for now, though Treecard plans to expand benefits to European consumers when the cards launch globally.