First state in the country to mandate a move toward e-receipts
Sacramento - Paper receipts have become obsolete in the digital age, wasting valuable natural resources and putting the health of consumers and retail workers at potential risk when exposed to their chemical contents. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) today introduced AB 161, Skip the Slip legislation that makes electronic receipts the default practice when making a purchase. Businesses in the state would have to provide customers e-receipts by 2022, unless a hard copy is specifically requested.
“Most of us don’t need a physical receipt for every transaction. It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and produce 12 billion pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent of one million cars on the road, to make something we don’t often need,” said Ting.
To make matters worse, receipts sometimes include coupons, promotions and surveys, making the paper copy even longer. According to a 2018 report by Green America, up to 3 million trees and 9 billions gallons of water in the United States are used to create receipts every year.
“Paper receipts surprisingly have large environmental impacts, including 686 million pounds of waste annually,” said Beth Porter, Program Director for Green America. “A variety of digital solutions exist that can be offered to customers, and this new bill ensures that businesses in California will reduce waste and cut costs by offering paperless receipt options.”
The public health impacts are also alarming. The Ecology Center found 93% of receipts contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS), which enable text to appear on the receipt. Our bodies can absorb some of these chemicals simply by touching the receipt. BPA and BPS are known endocrine disruptors and can cause developmental and neurological problems. These additives also mean paper receipts cannot be recycled.
“Giving people receipts that they don’t want isn’t just inherently and unnecessarily wasteful, but it also contaminates other recyclable materials since much of the receipt paper is not recyclable,” said Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for the environmental organization Californians Against Waste.
Committee hearings are expected to begin in the Spring. In the meantime, supporters can sign the petition here.
Media Contact: Nannette Miranda 415-557-2312.
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