BPA in Paper Receipts & Environmental Waste
Every year Americans stuff their wallets and purses with paper receipts from convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores and ATMs. Most of those receipts are unwanted and unnecessary. They end up in the trash most of the time, but those that are needed are tossed in a shoebox for expense report filing or for their accountant to sort through. Finding what you want in that pile of paper is a challenge.
Did you know that 90% of those receipts are coated in BPA – a toxic chemical we’ve been struggling to remove from plastics, baby products and food containers for years? Not to mention the 10 million trees, 21 billion gallons of water used to manufacture that paper, which generates 686 million pounds of waste each year. Waste that is not recyclable due to the phenol coating?
What if you could record every cent you spend in a reliable and convenient way? A method that made receipts searchable by date, by retailer name, by amounts or by expense category. Receipts sent either via email or NFC from POS terminals in stores. Eliminate the waste and make receipts useful for budgeting, taxes or business purposes.
A digital receipt wallet doesn’t seem like a pressing need until you learn that there have been laws introduced in several states intended to reduce or eliminate the use of paper receipts. California introduced AB161 (see video below) but that law was sidelined, with a promise to reintroduce. Illinois passed HB 2076, New York has introduced Senate Bill S1096 and more are being considered in other states.
Over in the U.K. they are working on a “Paperless Pledge” which enrolls businesses in providing digital receipts to customers. There is also a campaign called “Beat the Receipt” there. In June 2019, Switzerland became the first European country to ban both bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) in thermal paper – meaning receipts. It is apparent this is a worldwide movement and that we’re looking for alternatives to paper receipts.
Individual retailers are also reacting to public concern about toxic BPA and BPS in paper receipts and have agreed to look for alternatives. Trader Joe’s promised in 2018 to take action:
“We are now pursuing receipt paper that is free of phenol chemicals (including BPA and BPS), which we will be rolling out to all stores as soon as possible.” —Trader Joe’s
Target and Walmart have both made commitments as well
“Later this year, Target will transition to phenol-free receipt paper for our stores… By end of year 2020, Target expects to fully convert to phenol-free receipt paper for use in all standard and mobile-device checkout lanes.”Target
CVS has been the target of jokes and memes over their very long coupon laden receipts for years, but has begun moving customers toward use of their app and digital receipts.
Green America has released their 2022 update to the Retailer Receipt Scorecard.
Retailers with Grade A – Offers digital only receipts. Paper BPA/BPS Free
- Ben & Jerry’s
Grade B – Paper BPA/BPS Free. May offer digital but always prints paper
- Whole Foods
- TJ Maxx
- Trader Joe’s
Grade C – Offers digital option. Paper not BPA/BPS Free
- Banana Republic
- In & Out Burger
- Taco Bell
Grade D – No digital option. Paper not BPA/BPS Free
- Panda Express
- Burger King
- Rite Aid
- Family Store