Skip the Slip

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.


Green America     July 3 2019

In June 2019, Green America released the second version of our "Skip the Slip" report, which outlines the environmental impacts and health risks of thermal paper receipts and proposes alternatives. Key findings include:

- Consumption of thermal paper for receipts is increasing worldwide, including in the US, according to recent market analysis conducted by Grand View Research. In 2018, US consumption was 256,300 metric tons of paper and this is projected to increase at least through 2025.

- US receipt use consumes over three million trees and nine billion gallons of water each year. Receipt production generates over four billion pounds of greenhouse gases (the equivalent of 450,000 cars on the road) and 302 million pounds of solid waste. - There are escalating costs for businesses automatically printing receipts that often are tossed in the trash. In 2018, market revenue for paper receipts in the US was over $386 million. Due to a severe shortage of leuco dye needed for thermal paper, costs will steadily increase each year. It’s projected that market revenue for paper receipts will surpass $566 million by 2025.

To find the full report, please visit: https://www.greenamerica.org/report-STS


Green America     November 19 2020

Success!: CVS Responds to Consumers and Takes Significant Steps to "Skip the Slip," Move to Digital, Non-toxic Receipts(Full press release available: https://www.greenamerica.org/press-release/green-americas-new-skip-slip-report) 

October 20, 2020 – As paper receipt usage sees a dramatic reduction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS, the largest U.S. pharmacy chain, is responding to pressure from Green America and thousands of consumers and stopped using thermal receipt paper coated in Bisphenol S (BPS), an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to health issues. The company has implemented phenol-free, recyclable paper in all its 10,000 stores across the country. Since 2017, Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization, has urged CVS and other retailers to reduce paper receipt waste and toxicity through its Skip the Slip campaign.

Per Green America’s urging, CVS has also increased promotion of its digital receipt option which led to over one million new customer sign-ups in 2019. The company reports that its digital program has resulted in saving 49 million yards of receipt paper, which Green America estimates is more than enough paper to circle the globe.

Thousands of individuals have signed Green America’s petition to CVS and contacted the company on social media, which resulted in a dialogue between CVS and Green America to discuss receipt alternatives, reducing the length of receipts, providing digital opt-in prompts for customers to sign up for digital receipts, and switching to phenol-free, recyclable paper.

The new Skip the Slip report tracks the progress on receipt practices of 35 major companies, including CVS, Target, which has implemented phenol-free receipt paper and a digital receipt option, and Walmart, which offers a digital option at checkout (but still uses phenol-coated papers). Target received over 51,000 petitions from Mamavation urging the company to drop BPA and BPS from its receipts.

The report also discusses changes in thermal paper demand, which had been steadily increasing each year in the United States but declined since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. used 280,000 metric tons of thermal paper for receipts in 2019, but this has dipped to an estimated 252,000 tons in 2020. The decline could become permanent if consumers continue increased shopping from home and declining paper receipts at the register post-COVID.

“CVS’ changes to its receipt practices reflect the growing consumer demand for digital options and non-toxic, recyclable receipt paper,” said Beth Porter, Green America’s Climate Campaigns director. “We encourage the company to build on this progress by identifying the many more opportunities to reduce waste across its operations.”

Since 2017, Green America has campaigned to raise awareness on the unnecessary environmental impacts of paper receipts and the toxins coating paper receipts, most commonly BPA and BPS. Green America estimates that in 2020, U.S. receipt consumption will use over three million trees and nearly nine billion gallons of water. Receipt production requires the energy equivalent to operating nine million refrigerators a year and generates 297 million pounds of solid waste. Receipt production generates the greenhouse gas emission equivalent to over 400,000 cars on the road each year.

“Retailers are spending an estimated $282 million on thermal paper for receipts this year,” said Todd Larsen, Green America’s executive co-director. “Companies should be looking to digital options that are safer, cheaper and better for the environment.”

 


Every year, US receipt production consumes over 3 million trees and 9 billion gallons of water. This emits 4 billion pounds of CO2 and generates 302 million pounds of solid waste (from production & disposal). And most thermal paper receipts are coated with BPA or BPS, posing risks to worker & customer health as well as making them unfit to recycle.

BPA has been banned from other items because it contributes to developmental, reproductive, and neurological problems. Customers handles a dozen paper receipts every week, and employees may touch thousands in the same time period. Environmental Working Group analysis of Center for Disease Control data shows that retail workers are shown to have 30% more BPA in their systems than other adults.

Many retailers are already making the choice to move away from using these papers, but the majority of stores still need to take action. Green America wants to eliminate the use of thermal paper coated in toxins and reduce the unnecessary waste from paper receipts used by companies like CVS.

CVS finally rolled out digital receipts in 2016, but its failure to promote this option has resulted in just 5% of its customers using digital. And its use of receipt paper coated in BPS continues to pose health risks to its workers and customers.