Green Business Network director Fran Teplitz submitted the following letter to the Natural Resources Committee of the California Assembly in support of new “Skip the Slip” legislation. The bill was inspired by Green America’s Skip the Slip campaign urging businesses to use electronic receipts rather than toxic and wasteful paper receipts.
On March 25, 2019 the Skip the Slip bill in California, AB 161, passed through the Natural Resources Committee in the State Assembly and will next move on to the Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee.
March 21, 2019
Assemblymember Laura Friedman
Chair, Assembly Committee on Natural Resources
1020 N Street, Room 164
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 161 (Ting): Skip the Slip – Support
Dear Assemblymember Friedman,
On behalf of Green America’s Green Business Network, I am pleased to support AB 161, which would reduce waste, save water and trees, and reduce California’s carbon footprint by encouraging consumers to use electronic receipts instead of paper receipts.
The Green Business Network, with 2,000 business members nationwide and 262 business members in California, represents many smaller businesses, including retailers. These businesses are leaders in innovation and in greening their business practices including recycling, offering organic and non-toxic products, reducing their use of materials, and incorporating clean energy. These businesses also are experts in meeting the needs of their customers, including offering customers the choice of greener options that help build customer loyalty.
The Skip the Slip Bill is a commonsense measure to enhance sustainability and customer choice. Currently, many retailers provide customers with a paper receipt, whether the customer wants it or not. Skip the Slip puts the power in the hands of consumers to determine if they want a paper receipt or just an electronic receipt. Smart businesses are already moving in this direction and are finding that it meets customer needs and reduces business costs over time. This bill will place California in a leadership issue on this important issue.
According to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California exports nearly one third of its recycled material to other countries every year. With recent developments in the international recycling market, exporting California’s recycled material has become unsustainable and the state must find ways to reduce waste.
The Ecology Center’s More than you Bargained For: BPS and BPA in Receipts found that 93 percent of paper receipts are coated with Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS), chemicals which the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned from baby bottles because they are known to disrupt hormones, causing cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental issues.
Additionally, Green America’s own report, Skip the Slip: Environmental Costs & Human Health Risks of Paper Receipts with Proposed Solutions, found that over 3 million trees and 9 billion gallons of water in the United States are used to create proof of purchase receipts. These receipts generate 302 million pounds of waste and 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of more than 425,000 cars on the road.
Today there are many alternatives to paper receipts that retailers are already using. Data from a point-of-sale platform that offers digital receipts shows that their sellers send over 10 million digital receipts each month.
AB 161 would require all businesses to provide proof of purchase receipts electronically unless the customer asks for a physical copy, starting on January 1, 2022. This gives each customer the option of receiving a paper-based receipt, instead of receiving a paper receipt whether they want it or not. Many customers will choose to “skip the slip” leading to less paper waste.
Reducing the number of paper receipts that are printed will not only vastly cut down the amount of waste that we produce, it will also save millions of trees and billions of gallons of water each year. For these reasons, we are supporting AB 161.
Executive Co-director, Green America
Director; Green America’s Green Business Network