Do Receipts Go in Paper Recycling?

While receipts are helpful, it is way too easy to end up with hundreds of them all over your home. That’s why it’s important to come up with an effective system of disposing of them, especially if you’re trying to live more sustainably.

Fortunately, this post is going to help you with that. In it, we are going to talk about your disposal options and so much more.

Can you recycle receipts?

While receipts made of 100% paper can be recycled, those made of shiny thermal paper can’t. Unfortunately, most of today’s receipts are made of thermal paper.

This type of paper is usually coated with Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS), both of which are toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacture of some kinds of plastic.

When absorbed in large doses, these chemicals are detrimental to human health. They can negatively affect your reproductive health, brain development, and lung health. That’s why they have been banned in some countries.

To figure out whether a receipt is made of pure or thermal paper, just scratch it. If a dark line appears, the receipt contains BPA or BPS. This means you can’t throw it in your paper recycling bin – it will contaminate the recycling stream and end products like tissue paper and paper towels. But if it’s made of 100% paper, you can comfortably throw it in.

How do you properly dispose of receipts?

If your receipts are made of pure paper, you can recycle, compost, or even burn them if you want. But if they are made of thermal paper, your only option is to throw them in the trash bag and make peace with them ending up in a landfill.

If you add them to your compost heap, they will contaminate it. If you burn them, they will contaminate the air.

Should I shred old receipts?

If a receipt has any personally identifiable information such as your bank account number, you should shred it before disposing of it. This helps protect you from any potential thieves and fraudsters.

Another reason to shred a receipt is if it’s linked to a purchase that you feel sensitive about.

As a rule of thumb, you should shred anything with any information that you wouldn’t want the public to know.

Sustainable alternatives to paper receipts

To keep yourself from further accumulating thermal paper receipts, there are a couple of things you could do.

Firstly, you could ask the retailers you use frequently whether they would be open to switching to BPS and BPA-free thermal paper. POS Supply Solutions has been selling this kind of paper for a while now and it can be recycled in the mixed office paper category of your local recycling stream.

Another option you have is asking retailers to email you digital receipts whenever possible. This way, you can easily keep track of your purchases without creating waste. Ultimately, this is the most sustainable path.

Receipts are bad for the environment

Over 8 billion gallons of water and 3 million trees are used to create paper receipts each year in the United States alone. This process produces 4.6 billion pounds of Carbon Dioxide and adds more waste to landfills, two things that aren’t good for the environment.

So if you truly want to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable life, this is the time to go receipt-free – your health and planet will thank you for it!

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