Vodafone SIMs to be made of recyclable plastic from 2022

Vodafone SIM
(Image credit: Vodafone)

Vodafone will use SIM cards made entirely from recyclable plastic across 15 markets as the company continues its efforts to reduce its impact on the environment.

The Newbury-based operator says that although it supports eSIM technology in Europe and that adoption is rising as the device ecosystem develops, most customers will require a physical SIM card for the foreseeable future.

This means reducing the environmental impact on the production and distribution of the cards is a key part of its ambition to reduce emissions.

Vodafone Eco SIM

Efforts to reduce the size of its SIM card holders have decreased the amount of plastic used by around 340 tonnes a year – equivalent to 1760 tonnes of CO2e. The introduction of ‘Eco-SIMs’ will reduce the need to use 320 tonnes of new plastic each year.

The new cards will be used in 12 European countries and in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa, with an introduction in the UK earmarked for 1 April 2022.

“Our ultimate aim is to remove plastic SIM cards entirely, but switching to Eco-SIMs, made from 100% recycled plastic, is a big step in the right direction,” said Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam.

“This is one of many changes we’re making to help us and our customers reduce our impact on the planet. In addition to the introduction of Eco-SIM, our business is now powered by 100% renewable electricity, we’re extending our device reuse and recycling schemes and we’ve eliminated single-use plastic packaging from our deliveries. We’ll be introducing Eco-SIMs for all of our customers in the UK from 1 April 2022.”

Vodafone’s entire European operations, including data centres, mobile and fixed networks, retail stores and offices are now powered by 100% renewable energy. Vodafone has also committed to achieve net zero in the UK by 2040 and across its global carbon footprint by 2040.

It is also stressing the potential role of mobile networks in mitigating climate change across wider society, especially with ongoing investment in 5G and IoT.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.