A new bill in the California Assembly would make the state the first in the U.S. to mandate that retailers offer digital receipts as the default to customers starting January 1, 2022.
Customers will still be able to request a paper receipt in lieu of a digital receipt. Reflecting the focus of Green America’s “Skip the Slip” campaign, the bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will help protect consumers and workers from the toxins that often coat paper-based receipts, while also creating substantial environmental benefits.
“We applaud Assemblymember Ting for introducing legislation that will protect the health of California workers and consumers, while protecting the environment,” said Green America Climate and Recycling Director Beth Porter in a statement. “Over time, this legislation would prevent millions of trees from being logged for paper receipts, which fewer and fewer consumers want, and which often go straight to landfills. This bill will make California a leader in addressing the impacts of paper-based receipts.”
Green America’s Skip the Slip report documented the following national impacts annually of paper-based receipts:
- They use 10 million trees.
- They consume 21 billion gallons of water.
- They generate 686 million pounds of waste and 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).
“A key step of waste reduction is targeting where a material is being used that serves little purpose, can be replaced with environmentally preferable alternatives or is discarded after only brief use (and is not recyclable),” according to the report. “By changing a process or design to curb waste, we can reduce consumption at the source and institute a more renewable, longer-lasting replacement. Identifying unnecessary, wasteful items to eliminate from a business can save more than the material itself. Massive resources are used for even the smallest of items when they are produced in the billions, and for a clear example, we need look no further than the pervasive paper receipt.”
In addition, research from Ecology Center estimates 93 percent of paper receipts are coated with Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS), known endocrine-disruptors. These toxins are absorbed when people touch receipts and are linked to serious health problems, including numerous types of cancer, diabetes and reproductive issues.
Skip the Slip highlights cost-effective digital and non-toxic solutions for retailers to protect their employees and customers and reduce their impacts on the environment, while reducing fraud and increasing sales. Major companies that have successfully adopted many of these solutions include Best Buy, Apple, Lidl Grocery and Trader Joe's.
“Retailers who have adopted digital receipts are already seeing benefits in terms of reduced costs and greater connection to their customers,” said Green America Executive Co-Director Todd Larsen in a statement. “Assemblymember Ting’s bill will benefit retailers, workers and consumers in California, and it will be an important step forward in addressing the increasing impacts of paper-based receipts.”