National Trust

National Trust eradicates plastic from membership cards

Article: David Styles | Image: © National Trust

The five million membership cards issued annually by the National Trust will now be made using ‘super-strength, recyclable and compostable paper’, reducing the organisation’s plastic use by 12.5 tonnes each year.

From March, National Trust members will receive cards made from strong and durable paper that has received Forest Stewardship Council certification. This measure makes the Trust the UK’s largest membership body to remove plastic from its affiliate cards.

Changing the cards, which will now be produced in a mill powered by its own biomass, is not the only National Trust product to have plastic removed. Plant-based plates and cups, potato starch magazine covers, and reusable plant pots have all been introduced as the Trust seeks to improve its environmental credentials.

While the move from plastic to paper may be seen as a strong sustainability step, the Trust aims to go further and will be exploring the possibility of transferring physical cards to digital ones in future.

“As an organisation committed to creating and maintaining a healthy and more beautiful natural environment, we are determined to use every opportunity to minimise our use of non-renewable resources, and cut down our waste,” noted Lizzy Carlyle, head of environmental practices at the National Trust.


“We have taken a number of significant steps to make improvements, but with an organisation the size of the National Trust it isn’t always something that happens overnight,” she added.

As the Trust further advances its plastic reduction campaign, alterations could also be made to improve greetings cards and wrapping paper, plastic tree guards, and packaging for shipping.