Can Receipts Be Recycled?

You may have said that you didn’t want a receipt at checkout, but one certainly got printed. And now you’re stuck with it. But it’s paper, right? Can’t it just be recycled? I wish!

About half of the receipts we receive in supermarkets, restaurants and boutiques are printed on a shiny, thermal material. It looks like paper and tears like paper, but because it’s made from multiple materials that cannot be separated from one another, receipt paper is unrecyclable.

In addition, rather than being printed with ink, receipt paper uses BPA chemicals that react to heat to reveal markings on the paper. Through the recycling process these materials, which have been linked to cancer, pre-mature puberty, obesity and type 2 diabetes, could be released into the air and become breathable. BPA-coated receipts may also contaminate recycled paper, only increasing human exposure to BPA. No good.

So what should you do with your paper receipts?

Well, you have two options:

  1. Throw them away. It sounds simple, but receipts really add up and our landfills are already overburdened.
  2. Opt for a digital receipt, as often as you can.

If the stores you frequent don’t offer digital receipts by email, encourage the managers of those establishments to invest in technologies that allow them to offer electronic receipts and leave toxic, unrecyclable receipt paper behind. You may have to get out of your comfort zone, but asking for better, more environmentally responsible decisions to be made is your right as a consumer. Use that right for good!

36 comments

Kathy K
Kathy K10 hours ago

Thanks.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 days ago

I receive notifications for all of my credit card expenses and turn down receipts unless I need to expense something and I am trying to expense less.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 days ago

Thank you.

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 days ago

tyfs

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Christine V
Christine V5 days ago

I wish they would make them recyclable. But the ones from the locally owned stores around here appear to just be plain paper and ink, nothing shiny about them at all.

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Debbi W
Debbi W5 days ago

I've been putting mine in recycle.

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Richard E Cooley

I shred my receipts along with all my other documents. My city recycling program takes shredded paper. I was not aware that receipt paper was not approved. Will look into it but the IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE SHRED ALL PAPERS WITH PERSONAL INFORMATION!

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Janet B
Janet B5 days ago

Thanks

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Marija Mohoric
Marija M5 days ago

tks very much for sharing

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Donna T
Donna T6 days ago

I put mine in recycling.

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