December 24, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is an eco credit card. [Discover Card’s biodegradable PVC card]

Excerpt via Green Grown & Sexy, with thanks for the tip to Jen Sall: Discover launched their biodegradable credit card “in response to greater consumer interest in green products, and they are hoping this will appeal to those interested in living a greener life.”

“The biodegradable Discover Card is another way for environmentally conscious consumers to do their part to help protect our planet.”

“The card itself is made of biodegradable PVC, which breaks down 99% in nine months to five years in soil, water, compost, or whatever microorganisms are present (e.g. landfills or composts). Plus, the card leaves no toxic effect on the environment.”

So, Discover Card just came out with a non-toxic PVC biodegradable credit card! Yay?


Look, it’s a step in the right direction—and far better than any other conventional plastic credit card on the market. So why criticize the tentative first steps of a major company trying to get mindful of their impact on our environment?

Greenwashing—the so-called act of painting your company and/or product as environmentally-responsible without actually walking the talk…all in an effort to make more green by appealing to the Billions-wide conscious consumer market—is a tough thing. On the one hand, any effort ought to be supported. So, Mr. Discover Card, good work. You’re simply the best, better than all the rest. On the other hand, if you’re going to say you’re green, be green. An infamous example of greenwashing is Ford’s many ads touting their Detroit factory’s green roof…when their fleet gets worse mileage than it did back in the days of the Model T. Egad. 

So what’s the problem with Discover Card’s new biodegradable PVC credit card? It’s not biodegradable—just ’cause something breaks down into little bits don’t mean it’s compostable—after all, little bits of plastic are what’s filling the bellies of Pacific fish, that we then eat.

And, two, it’s still made of PVC. It’s toxic. Linked to cancer. I’ve had two dear friends and now a dear mother of a dear friend say goodbye too early to this world in the last two months cause of breast or other cancer. Let’s put two and two together. PVC is never good (just ask Umbra).

I can’t wait, personally, until I can pay for everything via my cell phone—which is powered by Working Assets, now Credo, btw. 

So it’s not about being holy and perfect and pure. It’s about doing our best, being honest, and doing better tomorrow—for our grandchildren’s sake. Because, for all the Green this and Green that talk, things are still getting worse. And, according to experts, we have about one more year—not to slow the expansion of our impact on our ecosystem—but to reverse it. That’s a tall order, and not one I expect us to meet. Sorry, grandchildren. Sorry, 50% of species. Sorry, Third World.

Still, there’s nothing like trying, and having a good time doing so. That’s the only thing worth living for—and celebrating—helping to create an enlightened society. And that’s all I want for Christmas, baby.

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Waylon Lewis  |  Contribution: 1,549,685