If playground equipment and snuggly hats can be made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) soda bottles, why not credit credit cards? At the recent Cards 2009 event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, IntelCav rolled out EchoCard, a new series of card products made out of materials recovered from plastic bottles.

When dumped in a landfill, plastic soda bottles can take up to 100 years to fully break down. In the latest green play to catch on in the card industry, IntelCav - which is approved by Visa, MasterCard, Credicard and American Express-manufactures about 15 million cards per month; one thousand cards are the equivalent of about 55 plastic bottles removed from the environment. And it's not just that they're made from recycled garbage, the new IntelCav cards dramatically reduce the half-life of the bottles: in their new form they take only 80 days to degrade. But plastic bottles aren't the only biodegradable card material out there these days; also available are cards made from corn and a Discover card made from biodegradable PVC.

Green Data Center Pushback in the EU

European data centers have done a stellar job in embracing green strategies, with nearly two-thirds having programs in place. But there's worry that regulators will require more: Nearly 70 percent of companies across Europe told an industry-backed survey that they're concerned about government mandates on the data center industry.

The research, funded by data center vendor Digital Realty Trust, found a high level of concern about the impact of the emerging carbon reduction commitment regulations in the EU, particularly with regard to how new regs will impact operations, finance, and customer relations, said Jim Smith, CTO of DRT.

It's not as if European data centers aren't already green: 60 percent of data centers say they have green strategies in place, 60 percent report a clear definition of what constitutes a green data center and more than half of client firms would reject a data center vendor that didn't have a green strategy.

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