Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are Paper Receipts Headed for Extinction?

Around the Environmental Paper Network, there's always lots of nerdy "paper talk." But for some reason, this week, there's been a noteworthy amount of chatter and buzz coming in about paper receipts.

What's up?

You may already know that thermal receipt paper can not be recycled. Strike one.

Now, there are new concerns. Organizations such as Practice Greenhealth, the folks at ScienceNews.com and bloggers such as the EcoMoms have become quite alarmed at the revelation that many paper receipts are coated with BPA (bisphenol A) and in a manner that allows it to end up all over your fingers after you've stuffed it in a pocket or into a trash bin. The EcoWomen break it down,

1. There are two types of paper used in cash register receipts: bond which is plain paper like what you write on and thermal-coated which is coated with a chemical that reveals marks when struck–this is the more popular type of receipt paper because it doesn’t require ink–the cash register merely bangs the information onto the receipt and the thermal coating reacts to the impact and heat, creating the images on the paper.

2. BPA was created to coat plastic in 1939. BPA is used to stabilize the chemicals on thermal-coated paper so the receipt paper doesn’t take on every mark from every single thing touching it, and it better preserves the marks on the paper.

Wikipedia can tell you about the health concerns and controversy surrounding Bisphenol A, HERE. Strike two.

And the question becomes, are paper receipts really the most convenient, efficient and secure way to serve customers. The folks writing over at SoftwareAdvice.com think that some of the electronic solutions are a better way to go for everyone. They are hosting a poll this month asking readers to, "please kill the paper receipt." You can vote here.

So, a more convenient alternative exists for most paper receipt uses? By my count that's strike three, and......

Let us know what you think. Please leave a comment below.

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