Why are Retailers Still Printing Receipts?

Why are retailers still printing receipts and issuing so many cash register coupons in this high tech era? Receipts are printed on paper made from trees, and trees are so vital to our planet's ecosystem. Most people have an email address where they can easily receive and permanently store paperless receipts.  

Let's encourage retailers to cut back and perhaps even eliminate printed paper receipts and cash register coupons. It will save retailers money, save trees, keep trash out of landfills and reduce CO2.

The following impressive facts were found at AllEtronic a business working on transforming paper receipts into digital format.

  • 50% of forests have been cleared and 50% of that is for paper. 9 million trees a year, just for paper. It takes approximately 15 trees to produce a single ton of paper. Receipt paper demands in the US are 640,000 tons per year. This equates to 9,600,000 millions trees cut down each year just to produce paper receipts.
  • It takes approximately 390 gallons of oil to produce a single ton of paper. At 640,000 tons of thermal receipt paper demanded per year, that's 249,600,000 gallons of oil used during production. That much oil could produce 115,885,714 gallons of gas that could fill 7,023,376 gas tanks (assuming an average tank size of 16.5 gallons).
  • The amount of CO2 emitted by producing one ton of receipt paper is 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.
  • It takes approximately 19,075 gallons of H2O to produce a single ton of paper. This equates to 1,220,800,000 gallons of H2O used during the production process of receipt paper. That's a lot of showers and swimming pools without water.
  • Approximately 2,278 lbs of trash is produced while producing a single ton of receipt paper. This means 1,457,920,000 lbs of trash are being fed into our landfill. This produces enough CO2 emissions to significantly damage the earth's ozone layer, leading to global warming.

It's pretty clear we need retailers to stop printing receipts and cash register coupons. Many point of sale systems have a key that can be punched to stop a receipt from being printed. Next time you buy something small like a coffee or a sandwich tell them in advance not to print a receipt. If it is a big purchase, ask them if they can simply email the receipt instead. 

Since I doubt individual cashiers will report back to headquarters that we are asking for unnecessary receipts to not be printed and necessary receipts to be emailed, we need to send a message to their executive team. Next time you receive an annoyingly long receipt, channel that frustration and go to the "Contact Us" page of your favorite retailer's website and send them an email that states:

    Subject: No More Receipts Please

I am one of your valued customers and I want you to stop wasting paper by printing receipts. We can do this together, Retailer and Customer, by giving me the option to 1) have receipts emailed, 2) make returns with an emailed receipt using my smartphone, and/or 3) have your cashiers ask me if I want a receipt or not.