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Will California Ban Paper Receipts Next?

'Skip the Slip' bill could make digital the default unless a customer requests otherwise
Photograph: Shutterstock

A new bill could make California the first state in the U.S. to ban retailers from handing out paper receipts, opting instead for digital, unless a specific request is made by a customer. 

The "Skip the Slip" bill was introduced by California Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and comes at the heels of similar restrictions on plastic straws that have been implemented in the state as well as in several cities across the country, including Washington D.C. and Seattle. 

The aim of the bill, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, is to protect consumers and workers from "toxins" that often coat paper receipts, as well as cut down on environmental waste, according to officials with Green America, leader of the "Skip the Slip" campaign.

Ting cites data from Green America's Skip the Slip report on his official website, which claims that "each year in the United States, up to 10 million trees and 21 billion gallons of water are used to create receipts, which generate 686 million pounds of waste and 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of 1 million cars on the road."

According to Todd Larsen, executive co-director for Green America, retailers that have already adopted digital receipts, such as Lidl and Trader Joe's, have seen benefits in terms of reduced costs and greater connection to their customers."

“Assembly member Ting’s bill will benefit retailers, workers and consumers in California, and it will be an important step forward in addressing the increasing impacts of paper-based receipts," he said.

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