Decision Maker Response

Sadiq Khan’s response

Sep 7, 2018 — Dear Petitioner

Thank you for the petition submitted on the change.org website about recycling Oyster cards in London.

Innovative ideas like these are crucial to reducing waste in London and the Mayor welcomes your initiative in suggesting it.

Transport for London (TfL) has previously looked at whether there is something it can do with this idea as part of a money saving initiative. However, unfortunately it’s not as straightforward as you’d expect. First, there would be a need to create a drop facility in stations that would be secure from theft and tampering. This has been done before but was not well used.

The second challenge is more difficult and involves the cleaning and reusing of cards. As the systems stand, once an Oyster card is ‘logically disabled’ it is no longer functional and cannot be made so. Surrendered cards are securely destroyed for the purposes of data security and fraud protection. Furthermore, it’s not currently possible to reinstate cancelled cards. There would likely be a significant cost to develop this in a way which would ensure that the security of personal data belonging to the previous cardholder was not compromised.

As you know, many customers now opt to use contactless cards or their smart phones to navigate the TfL network. These services work with contactless cards from all over the world, but most importantly, they create no additional waste. We’ve seen a steady growth of customers using contactless cards for their journeys and the Mayor hopes to see this continue.

Yours sincerely


Public Liaison Unit
Greater London Authority