How iZettle Designed the World's First Ocean Plastic Credit Card Reader with Oceanworks
iZettle, a PayPal Service
In 2010, iZettle revolutionized mobile payments with the world's first mini chip card reader and software for mobile devices. Today, their commerce platform for European and Latin American small companies provides tools to help them get paid, sell smarter, and grow their businesses. PayPal acquired the Stockholm, Sweden-based fintech company for $2.2 billion.
In November 2019, iZettle introduced the "Ocean Reader," the world's first card reader made from Oceanworks Guaranteed recycled ocean plastic. It provides identical functionality as the company's popular iZettle Reader 2, which provides quick, easy, contactless, and highly secure card payments for hundreds of thousands of small businesses. The only difference is that the Ocean Reader is made of 75% recycled plastic comprised of discarded fishing nets and ropes from the North and Baltic Seas.
Each Ocean Reader recycles and reuses half a square meter of intercepted fishing nets. Compared to using virgin materials, utilizing recycled ocean plastic avoids creating 1.13 pounds of carbon emissions and conserves 1.48 kWh of energy for each reader. Removing and recycling this waste from the ocean also reduces the damaging effect of floating "ghost nets" on sea life, which kill millions of marine animals each year, including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and seals.
The iZettle Ocean Reader Team
The idea for the Ocean Reader came from a group of 10 employees who pitched the concept at iZettle's "Hack Week," a bi-annual internal innovation conference. The team began thinking about the amount of plastic required for each card reader they produce—approximately 210 grams per reader and docking station. And the more they researched oceanic debris and global companies' contributions to plastic use, the more they understood the magnitude of the problem.
The team first met with iZettle's factory and supply chain to gauge their idea's. They were immediately met with a challenge, given the difficulty in sourcing the specific type and quality of resins their products required. Consistency and quality were paramount, and they needed a trusted source that could provide accurate samples for their rigorous testing and supply chain requirements.
iZettle partnered with Oceanworks to help bring the world's first plastic credit card reader to market.
"Every day small businesses set out to make smart decisions, not just for their bottom line but for the planet, too. iZettle’s mission is to help them succeed and when it comes to things like sustainability, we have a responsibility to do all we can." -Jacob de Geer, Co-Founder, iZettle
The iZettle design team had specific requirements for their innovative design, a core value of the company's ethos. After Oceanworks reviewed iZettle's ideas and supply chain requirements. Oceanworks guided iZettle through materials feasibility, performance standards, and verification requirements. Based on this initial review, Oceanworks recommended a polypropylene from recycled fishing nets.
After reviewing the technical datasheets, the iZettle team purchased material samples. Oceanworks guided the team through a rigorous injection molding test phase to ensure quality, functionality, and design. Despite an aggressive timeline, iZettle reached its product launch deadline.
"iZettle has a clear mission to help small businesses succeed in a world of giants. I'm proud to say they can now lay claim to helping small businesses also help protect the ocean from plastic pollution." -Rob Ianelli, Founder, Oceanworks
iZettle decided to maintain the texture and unique swirling effect found naturally with the fishing net materials with no added colorant. Every reader has a unique color pattern, highlighting the story of ocean plastics.
Creating the Product Impact Message & Story
The Oceanworks marketing team worked closely with iZettle to craft the launch campaign, product impact metrics, and story. In total, iZettle has removed over one metric tonne of plastic from the ocean and transformed it into Ocean Readers. This has saved approximately one tonne of CO2 emissions, 352 gallons of oil, 2,967 kWh of electricity, 50 million BTUs of energy, and 15 cubic yards of landfill space. iZettle is now examining the Ocean Reader production strategy to determine how it can leverage the process and materials for the company's mass production.
From idea to launch, Oceanworks helps companies move along the supply chain process with ease. For iZettle, the project took just 13 months from concept to product launch, and Oceanworks built an online platform to fast track the supply chain process
The world's first Ocean Plastic Card Reader launched in November 2019 for Swedish and UK merchants. Leading press outlets covered the launch including Yahoo Finance, Finextra, Independent.ie, Tech Digest, British Plastic and Rubber, and Business Green.
Strömmingsluckan, a local fish market in Gothenburg, Sweden, was one of the first merchants to purchase the Ocean Reader. They were extremely excited to receive their sustainable card reader, posting on social media about how the reader aligns with their business's values and goals. On Instagram, they wrote, "Childishly excited to open the shop tomorrow! Not only do we turn three years old this week, but it'll also be the premier for our new card reader. They are made of 75% recycled plastic from our oceans! Such a good initiative from @izettle and we are definitely not slow adopters. As well as finding new uses of this plastic, iZettle is also donating 20% of the sales to orgs doing similar work."
iZettle also leveraged the Oceanworks-provided product story and impact page to demonstrate the environmental benefits of the Ocean Reader. Available via scanning a QR code on the product's packaging, iZettle customers can quickly and easily learn more about how they're contributing to the mission Oceanworks and iZettle share. Click here to view the iZettle impact page.
iZettle's foray into using sustainable raw materials is just the beginning. There are more than 125 million card readers worldwide with a 6% expected annual growth rate. If the nearly 40 million card readers planned for production over the next five years follow the Ocean Reader's lead, the industry could collectively remove a significant amount of plastic from the ocean. Inspired by the Ocean Reader's success, iZettle's ambition is to include recycled materials in all products they produce by 2021.