Yes, receipts are theoretically recyclable, but most of them aren’t. The problem lies in the thermal paper they’re printed on, which contains chemicals that can’t be easily removed during recycling. Because of this, receipts can’t be recycled like regular paper and should be thrown in the trash.
You see, the majority of receipts are printed on a type of paper known as thermal paper, which contains a chemical compound called bisphenol-A (sometimes bisphenol S). This chemical, unfortunately, cannot be easily separated or removed from the paper fibers during the recycling process.
As a result, these receipts are not considered 100% paper and, therefore, cannot be recycled in the same way as traditional paper products.
However, Receipts are a common part of everyday life, whether from grocery stores, gas stations, or restaurants. So recycling receipts helps to reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment. By recycling paper receipts, the material can be transformed into new receipts or other paper products.
We will explore why receipts are recyclable and how you can properly dispose of them to promote sustainability.
So, let’s dive in and learn more about the recyclability of receipts.
Contrary to what many might assume, receipts are not suitable for composting. Most receipts are printed on a type of paper known as thermal paper, and they’re not like your typical organic materials that can be safely broken down in a composting process.
What makes thermal paper particularly problematic is the presence of bisphenol-A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), which are chemicals often used in the ink and coating of these receipts.
These chemicals can have negative health impacts, making it unsuitable to introduce them into the composting cycle.
When composted, receipts could potentially release harmful chemicals into the soil, which is not only detrimental to the environment but can also pose risks to plant and microbial life.
In addition to their unsuitability for composting, receipts are also not recyclable in the conventional sense. The BPA or BPS ink used in most receipts poses a significant challenge to the recycling process.
The recycling industry depends on being able to effectively separate inks and contaminants from paper fibers, but thermal paper presents a unique obstacle in this regard.
As a result, most recycling facilities are unable to recycle receipts efficiently.
So, when you find yourself wondering how to dispose of these small slips of paper, the answer is that they should be placed in the landfill bin with a blue or red lid, depending on your local waste disposal system.
While it might not be the most environmentally friendly solution, it is the most practical one given the composition of thermal paper receipts and the potential harm they could cause if introduced into compost or recycling streams.
Not all receipts are recyclable due to their composition. The majority of receipts are printed on thermal paper, which contains bisphenol-A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS).
BPA/BPS is a chemical that, when present in receipts, poses challenges to the recycling process. Recycling facilities struggle to efficiently remove these chemicals from the paper fibers.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, and exposure to it can have adverse health effects.
It’s essential to check with your local recycling program or waste management facility to determine whether they accept receipts for recycling. Specific guidelines for recycling receipts, if accepted, may also be provided.
Yes, you can generally recycle receipts with ink. The ink used on most receipts is typically soy-based ink, which is considered safe for recycling.
Soy-based ink is eco-friendly and doesn’t cause significant issues during the recycling process.
However, it’s advisable to verify the guidelines of your local recycling program or waste management company, as policies can vary by location.
For non-recyclable receipts, the best disposal method is to place them in the trash. This is often the most practical solution due to the challenges posed by thermal paper receipts.
If these receipts contain sensitive or personal information, it’s a good practice to shred them before disposing of them in the trash.
To ensure proper disposal, consult with your local recycling program and waste management company for any specific guidelines they may have in place.
Yes, digital receipts are undoubtedly more eco-friendly when compared to paper receipts. Opting for digital receipts reduces the demand for paper, saving valuable resources.
According to the Paperless Project, producing one ton of paper requires approximately 24 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and generates 1,440 pounds of solid waste.
In contrast, digital receipts are paperless and significantly decrease the environmental impact associated with paper consumption.
Furthermore, digital receipts are convenient, easily accessible through email or smartphone apps, and can help cut down on paper waste.
This shift towards digital receipts aligns with broader sustainability goals and initiatives to reduce paper usage and lower the carbon footprint associated with the paper industry.
It is important to consider the environmental impact of receipts and make conscious choices regarding their disposal. While some receipts can be recycled, others may contain harmful chemicals that should be handled carefully. By opting for digital receipts or refusing unnecessary paper receipts, we can collectively contribute to reducing waste and preserving our planet.
I am a graduate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, where I delved into various agricultural disciplines, equipping me with a profound understanding of agriculture. Beyond academics, I have hands-on experience in gardening and crop cultivation. My passion is to embrace sustainable farming and horticulture. With a BSc in Agriculture, I am dedicated to promoting environmentally conscious and efficient agrarian practices.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture (Hons.)
Master of Science. (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security ) (MS)
Bangladesh Agricultural University