Stuff. Part 2: paper receipts version.

Something was recently brought to my attention that has to do with stuff… of the useless and wasteful variety.

Paper receipts.

In addition to being tricky to spell, these pesky non-recycleable pieces of paper consume barrels and barrels of oil and literally hundreds of thousands of trees every year (more specific stats here). Did I mention that they’re not even recyclable?

My friends at are working on advocating for all electronic receipts, saying,

We think paper receipts are a wasteful vestige of the last millennium. There is no reason – legal or otherwise – why consumers or retailers need paper receipts. Electronic receipts are completely valid and far more efficient. Not to mention, the production of paper receipts do some real damage to our environment.

But I really liked what one commenter had to say:

I bought a doughnut, and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut. I don’t need a receipt for the doughnut, man, I’ll just give you the money, and you give me the doughnut… end of transaction. We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this.

Anyway, I think this is a really interesting and applicable campaign that fits nicely with the blog I mentioned in my original “Stuff.” post about how we can vote with our purchases and that we should be vocal about our preferences (i.e. telling the manager to look into this receipt issue.) Online banking is efficient, and a few dozen little paper receipts clogging up my wallet, backpack and life are not.

Check out this post to learn more and take their poll.



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3 thoughts on “Stuff. Part 2: paper receipts version.

  1. Alex Byers says:

    I agree that in general, FAR too many receipts are printed. Like the commenter, I almost never need a receipt.

    I can understand businesses needing them though, and so doing away with them completely is probably a bad idea. Physical receipts are the last line of defense when a computer holding valuable purchase data melts down (and they do melt down.) If I’m a retailer, I want a back-up record of my transactions dating back at least a month.

  2. wow! That’s so true! Something I never thought about, but now that I have I realize how much of a waste paper receipts are. Today Starbucks printed a 12 inch long receipt for my one cup of coffee! Apparently there was some sort of survey online I could take and get a free cup, but I don’t see how that warranted 12 inches of wasted paper. Which BTW was actually two pieces of 12 inch paper since one copy was theirs and the other mine! Come on people!

  3. Alexander says:

    Sounds really interesting. We actually developed a technology that allows retailers to send electronic receipts directly from their tills. Curious to hear your thoughts about our service:

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