Thales and Veolia partner to produce a recycled plastic SIM card


Although the SIM card market has undergone major restructuring in recent years, notably with the optimisation of the size of the card and the development of eSIM cards directly embedded into phones, the traditional card has not yet finished hitting the headlines. In fact, to connect cell phones to mobile operator networks, 4.5 billion SIM cards were produced worldwide in 2020, generating a significant amount of CO2 and consuming a significant amount of virgin plastic.

A market that Thales and Veolia have decided to disrupt together.


Veolia's solution

Thales, France’s global high-tech leader, and Veolia have partnered to create the first eco-designed SIM card made from recycled plastic. The plastic PS, which is mainly sourced from refrigerators, is transformed at Veolia's recycling plant in Froissy, France. Using recycled granules, Thales engineers, in collaboration with Veolia experts, have developed a new manufacturing process for SIM cards that meets all their industrial requirements. These eco-SIM cards, which include both the SIM card itself and its bank card format support, will avoid the production of tons of virgin plastic and CO2 emission. And at the end of life, the plastic used to make the cards can be recycled and used again. This initiative is part of a broader Thales strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of all its products and services. With these eco-SIM cards, Thales is going even further by offsetting all the CO2 emissions associated with their manufacture and with the chip's non-recyclable electronic components through its global offset program.

With a neutral carbon footprint and a recycled-plastic design, this new product helps mobile operators in their ecological transformation and responds much more closely to their subscribers' environmental concerns.


Specific Benefits

  • Bespoke products ecodesign
    Creating new products based on ecodesign is a major step to transfer the economy into a circular economy.
  • Disruptive Solutions
    Veolia participates in the structuring, development and even creation of a waste value chain, emphasising the social benefits for all stakeholders.


This innovation project with Veolia will support our telecom customers in their ecological transition by transforming waste into environmentally responsible SIM cards, said Emmanuel Unguran, Vice President, Mobile Connectivity Solutions at Thales..

Location icon




1 brand new product developed specifically for the project

Avoid the production of 5,000 metric tons of virgin plastic

Avoid the emission of 15,000 metric tons of CO2