Veridian Credit Union cards of corn
By Joyce Moed, Reporter
WATERLOO, Iowa–As a way to be more eco-friendly, while using its state’s own natural resource, Veridian Credit Union is providing its members with cards made out of corn.
“We were presented with the opportunity to do this to replace our existing card,” said Eric Kinman, Veridian CU’s public relations manager.
After that, the decision was easy, Kinman said. Veridian could help the environment, and the cost was about the same as the regular plastic card.
“It took us back to our roots,” Kinman said.
Using an eco-friendly material is not new to the Veridian CU–it is already using promotional beverage mugs made of the same biodegradable corn plastic.
The new cards, and the mugs, are made by a company called NatureWorks, which is based in Nebraska. NatureWorks turns corn into a resin called polylactic acid, which is crystallized into pea-sized white balls, and then melted and formed into items such as the mugs and cards. The lactic-acid plant is owned by Cargill, a large corn merchant.
Kinman said that their members will not notice the difference in the cards.
“There is basically no difference,” he said. “They are used exactly the same way.”
There are other ways the credit union is working to save the environment.
“We try to incorporate e-mail and electronic communication as much as possible,” Kinman said. Veridian also puts the majority of the forms online on its website as a way to reduce paper use, Kinman said.
Although this is beneficial to the environment, and also to Veridian’s members in the long run, Kinman stressed that the credit union is not doing this as a way to attract new members.
“Our savings rate is what I hope attracts members,” he said. “We have no thoughts of offering this as a way to get new members. It’s just a better way to do business.”
Kinman said he has not heard of other credit unions using corn plastic in their products. “But I’d would like to think they are,” he said.
The Veridian CU has $1.2 billion in assets, and about 140,000 members.