It is estimated that globally, 300 billion receipts of paper are produced annually, consuming 25 million trees, 18 billion litres of water and 22 million barrels of oil. At a time when biodiversity is decreasing and climate change is accelerating, this is a particularly wasteful “solution” when more and more consumers are storing payment records electronically anyway.
Moreover, BPA is not only bad for your health – it actually cannot be recycled as that would release more of the chemical into the air and contaminate groundwater. It is therefore strongly advised not to put receipts in the recycling bin. Unfortunately, the UK already generates 1.5 billion pounds of waste from paper receipts annually, so merely disposing them correctly still exacerbates our environmental footprint.
There are environmentally friendly paper receipts that are recyclable or made from recycled paper, so they’re not all bad. Still, many people can’t distinguish (or even notice) the difference between paper types, leaving room for error in the recycling process.