California Assemblyman Reintroduces Paper Receipt-Limiting Legislation
A California State Assemblyman is pushing legislation that would only allow businesses to issue paper receipts upon requests as a means of limiting waste and exposure to chemically coated paper.
Assemblyman Phil Ting, representing San Francisco and San Mateo County, re-introduced AB 1347, otherwise known as "Skip the Slip," in a video demonstrating the sometimes outrageously long receipts that customers receive.
Ting wore a scarf made to look like a giant receipt, and had an assistant with his head sticking out of a printed receipt more than 6 feet tall.
"What we find is we have receipts across the country, this is according to Green America, they use 3 million trees and 10 billion gallons of water," Ting said in the video. "If we actually went paperless entirely, and I know it's hard to go entirely paperless, but we could save that many trees and that much water."
He cited California's current drought conditions as a reason for limiting water usage. He also justified his bill by saying that receipts often contain BPA and BPS, making them unable to be recycled.
Ting introduced this bill originally in 2019, but it stalled in California's Senate Appropriations Committee.
In a monologue on his show at the time, Jimmy Kimmel once showed his support for the paperless movement, jokingly calling out CVS for giving out needlessly long receipts.
"That's right, CVS, I'm talking to you," he said. "I believe a receipt for a pack of gum should not be tall enough to ride Space Mountain, and finally somebody is doing something about it."
Under the legislation, customers would be given an option for either a paper receipt, digital receipt, or no receipt. It doesn't outright ban paper receipts, but it creates a situation where they are no longer the default.
Furthermore, the bill stipulates that a paper receipt "cannot be longer than necessary, and must be BPA/BPS-free."
If a business is found to be in violation of this rule, it could be fined $25 per day after two warnings, with a maximum penalty of $300 per year.
The issue extends beyond printers who sell paper for receipts, too. Small businesses that would be forced to go paperless would be on the hook for additional costs of new POS systems and software for paperless transactions.
In that case, a fine of $300 per year might be more appealing than the costs necessary to implement a new system at checkout.
However, there are other paper alternatives that would comply with Ting's legislation. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, paper that contains either ascorbic acid or urea-based Pergafast 201 are priced similarly to paper with BPA or BPS, and present fewer environmental effects.
According to ABC 7, committee hearings on the bill are set to begin in the Spring.