Thermal paper receipts have BPA and cannot be recycled

“No, I don’t need a receipt, thank you”. I began saying this after learning about the harmful effects of thermal paper, the shiny smooth paper that most retailers now use to print receipts.

Thermal paper uses heat rather than ink to form letters and numbers, and it relies on bisphenol A to do so. (If you scratch a receipt and see a dark line, then you know it contains BPA or its common substitute BPS.)

BPA is a hormone disruptor and is absorbed through the skin, which means that even reaching for a receipt poses a risk of contamination. I try to avoid touching any receipts if I can. I can only imagine the amount of BPA of people working in super markets that absord these BPA’s.

The amount of receipt waste is staggering. In the UK an estimated 11.2 billion receipts are handed out annually, costing around £32 million to make and generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste.To make matters worse, thermal paper cannot be recycled. Its only ‘safe’ destination is the landfill, because the recycling process would only release more BPA into the environment and cause further damage.

What are the alternatives?

– Digital receipts, emailed from retailer to customer, are becoming more common.

– Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay can be used on your smartphone to make small purchases.

– Be selective about the receipts you accept.

– Track your expenses elsewhere.

– Ask stores to reconsider their system.

Paper receipts are non-recyclable, consume oil, trees, and water, and they don’t fit into the digital lifestyle that we currently have.

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