BCA going greener (by sending out less green......)

Katie

Active member
Hi all,

For 2024 BCA have voted to become greener by sending out less plastic cards.
Currently the BCA posts out over 7000 plastic cards per year, and the majority of these are green 'club caving member' cards (hence the title of this post!)
These cards are only used for a maximum of one year, and their distribution involves additional waste in terms of envelopes and packaging plus the carbon footprint of distributing them around the country.

Instead BCA will be sending out electronic membership cards this year. These will be in a format you can save to your mobile device, or print and have as a hard copy if you prefer. As with the current plastic cards individual members of BCA will receive their electronic card directly from BCA, whereas club cavers will receive theirs via their caving club.

We are confident the vast majority of our membership will welcome this change however for 2024 only we will still send plastic cards if you request one (*only available whilst current card stocks last......)

This news was communicated to club membership representatives last week and so far the response has been very positive! (Especially from those large clubs who will no longer have to post out 200+ cards every year!). I have attached the news as sent to the clubs.

So good news for the planet, good news for the BCA, good news for the club membership representatives BUT bad news for all those cavers who have been too tight to buy ice scrapers for their windscreens and have spent years using their BCA card.........

Katie
BCA membership administrator
 

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  • Membership News Oct 23.pdf
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pwhole

Well-known member
To be honest we gave up posting out green cards to members a few years ago due to the expense, unless they specifically asked for it to be posted - as a consequence most sat in the kitchen at the hut waiting to be collected for most of the year, until they ended up in the recycling bin. Though I have no idea whether they're suitable for recycling! As you point out, there are numerous other uses for them, and at least you don't ruin your life for a week if it breaks in half, unlike with other cards.

I can't remember ever being asked to produce my red card, if I'm honest. Maybe once, for an over-zealous Peak Cavern keyholder 😁
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
The only downside that I can think of is if somebody asks to see the card, and doesn't believe that an electronic one is equivalent.

I have never been asked for my green one in 25 years so perhaps a non-issue.

Chris.
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
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Katie

Active member
The only downside that I can think of is if somebody asks to see the card, and doesn't believe that an electronic one is equivalent.
We will just have to wait and see on this one, although we are definitely not early adopters of e-cards so hopefully most people will have got their heads around them by now!
I think the online covid pass system will have got a lot of people used to the idea pretty quickly.
 

Katie

Active member
To be honest we gave up posting out green cards to members a few years ago due to the expense, unless they specifically asked for it to be posted - as a consequence most sat in the kitchen at the hut waiting to be collected for most of the year, until they ended up in the recycling bin.
I suspect something similar is the fate of a lot of BCA cards. Which is why we are keen to get rid of them.

I realise some caves/ landowners do like to see them, but hopefully they will accept the new electronic cards instead.

However I suspect the vast majority of cavers probably never use theirs. As a Derbyshire caver I have never been asked to see mine in nearly 20 years of caving....
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Thanks Chris - if that is the only criticism I get from this post I will be very happy :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Please don't consider this as criticism but I thought I ought to say that I've always very much appreciated having my BCA card and yes, it has been used to satisfy land owners or managers from time to time. My choice would have been for you not to abandon issuing them. (I don't think the situation is quite as black and white as might be perceived from the above discussion.)
 

benshannon

Active member
I receive my card, it goes in a draw. I bin put it in the recycling bin when the new one turns up to replace the one in the draw. have never ever needed it. personally i think its a great move.
 

Cavematt

Well-known member
Not only is this a great move, but it also shows how far the BCA has come in recent years.

I recall a meeting during my short tenure as Secretary where I suggested ditching the plastic membership cards. The response was initially tumbleweed, followed by people glaring at me like I’d just done a sh*t on their doorstep, followed by several reasons why ditching membership cards would spell the end of British Caving. So, while this may seem like a small (and very good) move, it signifies an organisation moving forward with changes that would have been unthinkable just four years ago. Well done, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Remember, the green cards are not just waste plastic… their postage and production are also costly and labour intensive for an organisation predominantly run by volunteers.

Hopefully regional councils and access controlling bodies will embrace this, and work proactively to identify any areas where the green card is still used, and update procedures accordingly to accept an electronic equivalent.

Although I had better set aside some old cards now, otherwise what else am I going to cut brie with while caving or motorbike touring around France? :LOL:
 

TLH

Active member
It's very rare that I have ever needed to show my green card, and most of the time, if a trip requests BCA insurance the membership number will usually suffice. Like most others mine stays at home and in a drawer with the others. The only issue with providing just the membership number is that there's no expiry date, so nobody is to know whether you're paid up and current etc... I guess the digital version will cover this :)
 

mikem

Well-known member
I think the only places I've been asked for a card by non-cavers are White Scar & Banwell Bone Caves, so as long as they are informed of the change (plus any others people can think of). Most of the rest have been cavers checking on behalf of landowners that they are leading the trip for. Although I don't believe you have emails for all members still...
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
If there is a digital equivalent can it be printed on to a plastic card at a local printers? or if we are looking for better options what about a bamboo card?

There is a company based in Stillington north of York which sells wooden cards but the run is generally in the hundreds.
 
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