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 small businesses in Europe and Latin America provides tools to get paid, sell smarter, and grow businesses. PayPal bought 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 is identical to the company's popular iZettle Reader 2, providing quick, easy, contactless, and highly secure card payments for hundreds of thousands of small businesses. The only difference is the Ocean Reader's made of 75% discarded fishing nets and ropes from the North and Baltic Seas. Each Ocean Reader is comprised of one-half square meter of intercepted fishing nets, which removes 1.13 pounds of carbon and saves 1.48 kWh of energy with the recycling of ocean plastic for each reader. Also, removing and recycling this waste from the ocean 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 going into each card reader they produce—approximately 210 grams of plastic per reader and docking station. And the more they looked into 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 the feasibility of their idea. At that point, it was just a dream. A great idea quickly became a tough challenge to source the specific type and quality of resins for their products. More importantly, they needed a trusted source and samples of the plastic for their rigorous testing and supply chain requirements.
iZettle partnered with Oceanworks to help bring to market the world's first plastic credit card reader.
"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. We reviewed iZettle's ideas and supply chain requirements. Then, we guided iZettle through materials feasibility, performance standards, and verification requirements. After the initial review, we recommended a polypropylene from recycled fishing nets as it met their needs. After reviewing the technical datasheets, the iZettle team purchased the material samples. We guided their team through a rigorous injection molding test phase to ensure quality, functionality, and design. With an aggressive timeline, we helped iZettle reach 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 certainly now lay claim to helping small businesses also help protect the ocean from plastic pollution." -Rob Ianelli, Founder, Oceanworks
iZettle wanted 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, which highlighted the story of ocean plastics.
Product Impact & Story
Our marketing team worked closely with iZettle to craft the launch campaign, product impact metrics, and story. In total, iZettle has removed over 1 tonne of plastic from the ocean to become Ocean Readers, which has saved approximately 1 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 decide how it can use the process and materials in the company's mass production.
We built an online platform to fast track the supply chain process. From idea to launch, we help companies move along the supply chain process with ease.
The world's first Ocean Plastic Card Reader launched in November 2019, available to merchants in Sweden and the UK. Leading press outlets covered the launch, including Yahoo Finance, Finextra, Independent.ie, Tech Digest, British Plastic and Rubber, and Business Green.
One of the first merchants to buy the Ocean Reader was Strömmingsluckan, a local fish market in Gothenburg, Sweden. The fish market was 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 leveraged the Oceanworks-provided product story and impact page to demonstrate the results of the Ocean Reader. This page can be accessed by scanning a QR code on the product's packaging, which allows iZettle customers to quickly and easily learn more about how they are contributing to the mission that Oceanworks and iZettle share. Click here to view the iZettle impact page.
This initial impact by iZettle is just the beginning. Today, there are almost 125 million card readers worldwide – this number is expected to grow annually by 6% on average going forward. If every new card reader produced over the next five years (more than 37.7 million) followed the lead of the Ocean Reader's production model, the industry could collectively remove a significant amount of plastic from the ocean. And the company's ambition is that all new products iZettle launches will include recycled materials by 2021.