The UnGreen (and Potentially Unhealthy): Paper Receipts

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updated 10/07/10

Would you like a receipt for that, uh, cup ‘o joe?

Why? Just in case I need to return it in a couple of days? So someone doesn’t think my desperate urge for caffeine has put me in dine-and-dash mode? Quick! Call 911!

Do we really need paper receipts for everything? I just received a 7″ receipt for 2 items! And you can’t just say no to receipts–they print them out no matter what!

Stunning factoids*

Receipt paper demands in the US are 640,000 tons per year. Production of these receipts consumes:

  • 9,600,000 million trees.
  • 249,600,000 gallons of oil. Enough to produce 115,885,714 gallons of gas that could fill 7,023,376 gas tanks (assuming an average tank size of 16.5 gallons).
  • CO2 equivalent to the amount of exhaust a car emits while driving for an entire year. That’s 640,000 cars driving 24/7 for an entire year.
  • 1,220,800,000 gallons of H2O.
  • 1,457,920,000 pounds of trash fed into our landfill.

* Source: AllEtronic, an interesting business that is working to move receipts to digital format.

Then there’s this, via Environmental Health News:

… pregnant cashiers had on average 55 percent more BPA in their urine than the pregnant teachers.BPA is found in some cash register receipts, and it could be absorbed through the skin or ingested. Wearing gloves may reduce exposure. Some companies are eliminating the chemical. Appleton Papers, the largest producer of thermal papers in North America, said that it stopped using BPA in 2006.

What would your vote be?

2 Responses

  1. [...] Studies find almost everyone in the United States is exposed to BPA since it is used widely in polycarbonate plastics, dental sealants, resins that line food cans and some store receipt paper. [...]

  2. [...] Studies find almost everyone in the United States is exposed to BPA since it is used widely in polycarbonate plastics, dental sealants, resins that line food cans and some store receipt paper. [...]

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