Are paper business cards bad for the environment?
May 27, 2022

Are paper business cards bad for the environment?

Paper business cards are, of course, made of paper. Most people understand that in general, paper is one of the easier materials to recycle. Therefore, most people don’t pay much attention to their paper business card usage.

Is it really so simple? If you’re an environmentally conscious individual, you’re probably looking to be informed of the true impact of the things you do and the products you use. What is the true impact of making the decision to print and give out paper business cards?

This page explores the answers to those questions and more, to give the eco-conscious networking professional the knowledge they need to make an informed decision.

Is your paper business card recyclable?

Generally, the answer is yes. Paper business cards can be recycled.

However, like most things related to the environment, the answer is not always so simple.

When thinking about the environmental impact of any product, we need to think about the big picture, which includes the paper production process and recycling processes, as well as the ink that transforms the rectangular piece of paper into an actual paper business card.

Is the ink on your paper business cards bad for the environment?

The ink on your paper business card doesn’t affect its recyclability, which is a plus.

There are a few problems with ink, though. First, during the recycling process, special detergents called surfactants, along with other chemicals, are often used to separate the ink from the paper. Although efforts have been made to transition to biodegradable surfactants in some parts of the world, they can still cause immense harm to certain ecosystems after they’ve been used and subsequently discarded by the recycling center.

There’s also the question of what happens to the ink after it’s separated from the paper. The answer is that it goes back into the local ecosystem, which can put stress on the plants and animals already living there. Petroleum-based ink in particular can cause significant soil pollution due to its heavy metal content. 

Does your recycling always get recycled?

An additional concern is whether or not your paper business cards will actually be recycled. 

Say every person you hand one out to puts it into the recycling bin instead of the trash. That’s great—and good on them for remembering to recycle—but unfortunately, more and more, recyclables are ending up in landfills. As paper decomposes, it releases methane, which is a harmful pollutant.

In other words, when it comes to recycling, individuals sometimes have less control over their ultimate environmental impact than they might like.

That’s why it’s generally better to limit paper usage as much as possible rather than rely on recycling to reduce your environmental impact. A Mobilo smart business card enhances your networking capabilities and removes the need to use paper at all. 

Is the paper production process bad for the environment?

You don’t have to know the detailed specifics of how paper is made to know that paper mills are bad for the environment. In fact, paper production is the third largest source of industrial pollution in the United States. 

Globally, about 400 million metric tons of paper and cardboard are produced each year. That’s about 880 billion pounds.

What is the environmental impact of paper recycling?

Knowing that paper production is bad for the environment, the next logical choice is to transition to getting your paper business cards printed on recycled paper.

The problem is that paper recycling centers themselves are not always good for the environment. These centers often use lots of fossil fuels and cause air pollution. They can also cause water pollution by releasing alcohol, inorganic materials, chlorine, and metal compounds as waste products.

Use Mobilo to improve your environmental footprint

Due to the unfortunate reality of paper business card production and recycling, it’s difficult to both use paper business cards and eliminate your environmental footprint in this particular area. Unfortunately, even taking steps like using natural dyes on recycled paper has its fair share of problems.

Luckily, there’s a better option that you can always feel good about using: a Mobilo smart business card.

With your Mobilo smart business card, instead of printing and handing out paper business cards, you can just tap your card against someone else’s smartphone. Your contact information will automatically populate into a contact entry on their phone. All they have to do it hit ‘Save’.

Along with the ‘Digital Business Card’ mode (described in the paragraph above), Mobilo also comes with three other unique and highly useful modes of networking.

If you order a Mobilo card made of wood, we’ll plant a tree in your name.

Make the switch to Mobilo to make a positive impact on the environment—and get better results from your networking efforts while you do it.