Those crazy long CVS receipts may be harming the environment
No joke for customers as activist points out threats.
In the unlikely event you aren’t in on the joke about paper receipts from CVS stores, we’ve got you: They’re really long. If you buy a pack of gum, the printed receipt will be about four feet long. If you buy a lot of items, from toothpaste to vodka, the receipt will probably top six feet, easy. Many the internet memes showing kids holding CVS receipts longer than they are tall. The customers snort, the cashiers who wind and wrap the receipt into a manageable handful sigh.
Why? Simple. People are just that much more likely to read the coupons and bonus points and sale marketing points than they would if they just got everything, including receipts, by email. (Ahem. Thank you, Walgreens.) But we’ll tell you what’s not funny: not only are they printed, they are printed on chemical-laden paper. Green America, an environmental membership non-profit, says decline the paper receipts, please.
In its “Skip the Slip” report, Green America says paper receipts have unnecessary environmental impacts and expose workers and customers to toxic chemicals. “Every year in the United States, receipt use consumes over three million trees and nearly nine billion gallons of water. Receipt production creates nearly 300 million pounds of solid waste and emits the greenhouse gas equivalent of over 400,000 cars on the road each year.
“Receipts also pose exposure to toxic chemicals as most thermal paper used for receipts is coated with Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS), endocrine-disruptors which serve as color-developers to make the text appear on receipts. These toxic chemicals are linked to reproductive impairment, type 2 diabetes, thyroid conditions, and other health concerns.”
The good news, Green America says, is that it began a campaign a few years ago to urge CVS “to address its wasteful, BPS-covered paper receipts,” and the company responded. As a result, CVS switched to phenol-free paper in all 10,000 stores and increased promotion of its digital receipt option. The non-profit says the company reports that increased digital participation has led to saving 49 million yards of receipt paper — more than enough paper to circle the globe.
And, to be fair, CVS does offer the digital/email receipt option. Ask for it. No receipt, no problem. Well, fewer problems.