Paper receipt is a great way to control your spending, especially when you have a habit of overspending when shopping. Indeed, the habit of saving paper receipt is running in our veins since decades ago because it will give us good information about our spending.
But is it true that paper receipt is a very important aspect in our lives? We are living in digital era where anything can be digitalized, including receipts. Thus, we can still have the function of receipt, even better we don’t have to take the physical form of it.
Now, the question is, should we really avoid taking the paper receipt? Why should we avoid asking for it in the first place? Our awareness in this topic is still low, and that’s the reason why we think it is important to spread this important mistake.
Here we list 4 reasons why we should avoid taking, even asking for, paper receipt. Spoiler alert, the environment is not the only one is being risked for it.
It Consumes Trees
Paper receipts are made of paper, and we know that paper is made of woods. Most of the times, the woods used to make paper receipt is sourced from cut down trees. Each year, we cut down around 3 million trees just to produce receipts.
What’s worse is, paper receipt is not something that will be kept in a frame and hung in your living room. It will directly be thrown away once you have enough information from it, or just thrown away directly after receiving.
It is like we are cutting down trees just to throw it away later, while we all know that this habit of looking down on paper receipt is done worldwide. This habit costs us not only a lot of trees but also energy and resources.
A calculation about the impact of this habit done by Green America found that every day, we throw away the equivalent of 249,6 million gallons of oil for paper receipt. This calculation came from the data that stated we need to consume about 390 gallons of oil to produce one ton of paper.
Too bad, that calculation only counted the demand for paper receipt in United States alone. Worldwide, the calculation would need to be multiplied hundredfold because in many countries the digitalized version of receipt has not existed yet.
Some Paper Receipt Cannot Be Recycled
Most of the time, want it or not, after a purchase we will be given the receipt. In case we really need it, like when we use it to manage our spending or we want to split the bill, we will directly throw it away or leave it on the table.
Probably, one of the reasons why we do it is because we are provided a trash bin full of paper receipt nearby. If we use to think critically, we might ask about the reason of the presence of that trash bin. Does it mean the thrown away receipts are recycled later, or just be sent to landfill?
Mostly they will end up in the landfill. Not only because that’s the more practical thing to do, but also because most of nowadays paper receipts are thermal paper receipt that cannot be recycled. We should be aware of this.
Thermal paper receipt contains dangerous chemicals called Bisphenol A (BPA) or its chemical cousin, Bisphenol S (BPS). We will talk about the dangers that those chemicals can cause in the next chapter, but now we will talk about why can’t it be recycled.
The problem with BPA and BPS is, the risk of those chemicals to leak into the environment while recycling is so high. Let alone the BPA and BPS content in thermal receipts are in free chemical forms that’s easier to release itself and get absorbed by the environment.
Paper Receipt Is Toxic
Now let’s talk about the toxicity of BPA and BPS to both our body and the environment. A study conducted in 2015 discovered that the content of BPA in thermal paper receipts is around 1%-3% by the paper’s weight.
It means, every single thermal paper receipt will contain around 10 to 30 milligrams of BPA depending on its size. That amount of chemical usually comes in contact with us in form of direct contact when we receive it.
The problem is, our bare hands used to touch the receipt is also used to eat. In other words, we directly consume the chemicals and let it get absorbed by our body. Even though in one ingestion we only eat small amount of it, but it’s still risky.
BPA, and its ‘weaker’ cousin BPS, is said to be able to mimic estrogen hormone once entering our system. in this case, it can bind to our estrogen receptors, and influence our bodily processes. Some of the processes that can be affected are such as growth, cell repair, and reproduction.
It may also interact with other hormone receptors, not only estrogen, and affect our body further. It can even interact with our thyroid and alter its function, including causing thyroid cancers to our body. Are all of those problem worth saying ‘yes’ to paper receipts?
It Is Literally Useless Nowadays
Okay, we know that saving paper receipt is useful as a memoir for those who want to manage their spending. But we also know that in this digital era, we can still manage our spending without the physical form of receipt.
A lot of merchants now provide digital option to the receipts that can be transferred directly into our phones. This is the best option we can get. Not only it can be accessed anywhere anytime, but also, we will never lose it as long as we keep our phones well.
The movement, to convert from paper receipt into the digital one, is the trend we need to start. Let alone when we know that some merchants already do it. We as customers are responsible for the demand for it, while the retailers and merchants will surely follow our demand if we succeed to make it high enough.
“Forward-thinking retailers are already looking to offer paperless options, as preferred by many younger customers. By offering these options, stores can reduce paper waste and save money by not printing receipts people do not want,” as Green America noted.