CVS: Skip the Slip

CVS Health Corporation

Progress updates

Green America     February 8 2019

Thanks to our Skip the Slip campaign to address the toxicity, resource use, and waste of paper receipts, the first-ever bill to tackle paper receipts was introduced in California on January 8, 2019.

This new bill in the California Assembly would make the state the first in the U.S. to mandate that retailers must offer digital receipts as the default to customers starting January 1, 2022. Customers will still be able to request a paper receipt in lieu of a digital receipt. Reflecting the focus of Green America’s “Skip the Slip” campaign, the bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will help protect consumers and workers from the toxins that often coat paper-based receipts, while also creating substantial environmental benefits.

If you've been to CVS, you've likely gotten a receipt that could be measured with a yard stick. The pharmacy giant is known for its lengthy paper receipts, but are you familiar with the environmental impacts and human health risks behind them?

These small slips carry within them a big waste of natural resources and use a Bisphenol S coating (aka BPS, a similar chemical to BPA, and linked to endocrine-disrupting health problems). Producing CVS’ notoriously long receipts takes over 35,000 trees and enough energy to power 84,800 refrigerators every year. The pharmacy’s receipt production emits 44 million pounds of CO2 and produces the same amount of solid waste generated by half a million people every day. The phenol coating makes them unfit for recycling, adding even more waste. CVS receipts have been tested and found to have BPS in their coating, which poses health risks for workers and customers.

Green America’s Skip the Slip campaign is calling on CVS to replace its current thermal paper with a recyclable, phenol-free option and expand its digital program to be accessible for all customers. This way transactions can serve all customer needs while reducing environmental impacts and ending employee and customer exposure to potentially harmful toxins.

Sign our petition urging CVS to improve its receipt practices and be a leader on this issue for other companies to follow.