Small Paper Slips, Big Problems
In the US, over 250 million gallons of oil, nearly 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water are consumed each year in the creation of paper receipts, generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste. Paper products fill over one quarter of all solid waste in landfills, including receipts. These seemingly innocuous small paper slips also collectively undermine businesses' attempts at increasing sustainability.
Additionally, an estimated 93% of paper receipts are coated with BPA (the same chemical banned from plastic bottles) or BPS (a similar replacement chemical), and should not be recycled. Well-meaning consumers who try to recycle them can contaminate recovered fiber. Research suggests that these paper receipts can contribute to human health issues. A study from the New York State Department of Health connects BPA to developmental, reproductive, and neurological problems. Studies show people’s blood levels of BPA spike after they touch receipts. In a test commissioned by Environmental Working Group, two-fifths of paper receipts were on heat-activated paper that was between 0.8 to nearly 3 percent pure BPA by weight. The receipts came from major retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, post offices and automatic teller machines (ATMs). Retail workers are shown to have on average 30% more BPA in their systems than other adults. While it is uncertain precisely how much is directly influenced by workers' contact with thermal paper receipts, many retailers have made the choice to move away from using these papers in their stores.
Paper receipts are unnecessary and honestly, very annoying. Innovative companies are moving to digital or no receipt options. According to a 2012 report from Epsilon International, one third of retailers surveyed offer digital receipts, and half of those do so at all their store locations. Our goal is to reduce the enormous use of paper, energy, and water for receipts by urging major companies to follow this movement and offer paperless receipt options to their customers.
Skip the Slip is one of the first initiatives in the United States to analyze environmental impacts of receipt waste, propose financially-savvy solutions to businesses to end their use of paper receipts, and engage customers in taking action. We want to see transactions which prioritize
: Security, Efficiency, and the Environment.
How to take action