Thousands of you joined our campaign urging CVS to address its wasteful, toxic paper receipts and this pressure led to a dialogue between Green America and CVS on its receipt practices.
CVS has now switched to phenol-free, recyclable paper in all 10,000 stores and increased promotion of its digital receipt option. CVS reports saving 49 million yards of receipt paper from increased digital participation, which is more than enough paper to circle the globe!
While these are positive steps, the pharmacy can do more to reduce its paper waste. For example, only four percent of CVS’ direct mail contained recycled content. We urge the company shift towards using high recycled content and reduce direct mail overall while developing strategies to reduce waste generation throughout its operations.
How Store Receipts Impact People & the Planet
- Every year, receipt use in the United States consumes over three million trees and nearly nine billion gallons of water.
- Receipt production uses enough energy to operate nine million refrigerators and emits the greenhouse gas equivalent to over 400,000 cars on the road each year.
- Most thermal paper receipts are coated with BPA or BPS - BPA has been banned from other items because it contributes to developmental, reproductive, and neurological problems.
- It's estimated that retail workers have 30 percent more BPA in their systems than other adults. Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their systems, and 90 percent of our exposure to BPS comes from thermal paper receipts.
The Solution: Skip the Slip
Green America’s “Skip the Slip” campaign is one of the first initiatives in the United States to analyze environmental and human health impacts of receipt usage and waste, propose solutions for businesses, and engage consumer action.
We want to eliminate toxic chemicals from thermal paper and to reduce the waste of paper receipts. Many retailers are already making the choice to offer a digital option and use non-toxic thermal paper, but the majority of stores still need to take action.
Our report highlights cost-effective digital and non-toxic solutions for retailers to protect their employees and customers, and reduce impact on the environment. Businesses will walk away from this report with a deeper understanding of the unnecessary impacts receipts have on the environment and human health, and also be equipped with next steps for better receipt practices. Access the full report here.
Ways to Take Action
- Sign our letter encouraging CVS to build on its new progress.
- Sign up for digital receipts on the CVS app, website or in store.
- Urge companies to improve receipt practices on social media (#SkiptheSlip).
- If you're a business owner, check out our report for best receipt practices.
Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 4.0. For more information visit www.papercalculator.org