Brick and Mortar Stores Going Paperless
The “Beat the Receipt Paperless Pledge” shown below is campaigning with an environmental emphasis from brick and mortar stores in the U.K. asking consumers to lobby their own supermarket to support Beat the Receipt. The concept is to make all paper receipts optional and stop defaulting to printing and then throwing them away if you decline them. The program wants stores to print receipts for only those who request them.
— Beat the Receipt (@beatthereceipt) May 20, 2021
The “Skip the Slip” campaign from GreenAmerica is a similar program in the U.S. – however they began with a focus on those absurdly long CVS drug store receipts, encouraging customers of the store to use the CVS app to get their receipts rather than the 4 foot long paper coupon-filled version.
Many businesses allow you to “Go Paperless” when it comes to monthly invoices, statements or many types of traditional snail mail (which you must file or throw away.) Now it’s possible to request they simply not send that paper at all. Monthly invoices from utilities, cable providers, policies from insurance companies, credit card bills and any other paper notices of any kind. Some (absurdly) require paper mail be sent to confirm that choice when initially requested.
Digital Receipts are Logical Next Steps
‘Beat the Receipt’ and ‘Skip the Slip’ are a logical progression from a time where there was no alternative method of recording a transaction. We now see transactions recorded by debit cards in our bank accounts and credit card statements as well as emails or text notifications when we make purchases. Receipts are usually available as PDF downloads from retailers, who also sometimes ask if we’d like it sent by email.
We very often need receipts, but almost never need the paper version. Many who insist on paper receipts are most often doing that out of habit or because they are technophobes who haven’t gotten comfortable with alternative options yet. Those who resist technological solutions in favor of paper will very soon be among a small minority.
There are now scanners built into many apps (DropBox, Apple Notes or dozens of proprietary scanner or receipt apps) which produce a PDF of the receipt and save it to the cloud or directly to the app so that when you have no choice but the paper receipt you are offered, it is possible to scan that paper version and make it digital instead. Then throw out the paper of course.
Breaking Our Paper Habit
The paperless pledge campaign and similar programs are simply seeking to help us break our old paper habits and move us toward digital alternatives. Much like the email signatures which encourage us to consider NOT printing the email to help protect the environment, Beat the Receipt is a gentle nudge away from old habits toward new ones.