Max Michieli

PODCAST: Making payment cards sustainable

CPI Card Group integrates recovered plastic into its Second Wave cards.

September 15, 2020

Max Michieli remembers the moment he realized the shocking amount of single-use plastic being produced, a realization that ignited his passion to develop a payment card that limited the amount of new plastic used in production.

Michieli, director of new card development and sustainability products at CPI Card Group, was visiting with a supply chain partner CPI Card Group was working with on its new eco-focused payment card solution.

He recalls seeing plastic fly off the production line at a rate of one mile of plastic film every five minutes and learning that this warehouse—which was nearly 50,000 square feet with 23-foot ceilings—turned over all this single use plastic each month.


“My stomach churned at the thought of all this plastic being thrown away just seconds after it was consumed,” Michieli says. “That’s the moment I realized the impact not only of the problem that we were trying to solve, but of the solution we have to offer.”

The solution CPI Card Group came up with was integrating upcycled, recovered ocean-bound plastic into the production of payment cards, in an attempt to use and divert plastic that would typically end up in oceans, shorelines, and waterways. While there were hurdles to overcome, Michieli says it was worth the effort.

“I feel like we’re changing the industry,” Michieli says. “The suppliers were, quite frankly, nervous and reluctant to start running eco-focused materials, but I think once you engage them and walk with them through the process, it’s a very compelling argument to say that we can make sustainable business decisions and not sacrifice on quality.”

In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by CPI Card Group, Michieli discusses eco-focused card solutions, the process of developing these cards, and what benefits offering a more, sustainable card solution has for credit unions.

You can listen and subscribe to the CUNA News Podcast in Apple’s iTunes StoreSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher Radio.

In this episode

1:40: A passion for eco-focused solutions

4:22: "Eco-focused" defined

7:23 Big impact, but challenges in production

12:15: Benefits for credit unions

13:50: What’s next?