I was genuinely shocked when we touched upon BPA in class and how the amount of BPA in thermal paper receipts is 250 to 1000 times greater than what’s in a can of food. I began to think about the number of receipts we go through when we buy groceries, get gas or even from grabbing coffee and it’s disturbing to learn how we’ve been exposed throughout our lives. Many receipts are printed on thermal paper coated with either Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS).
Although many businesses have created the option of emailing receipts, I envision a future where businesses stay away from the idea of printing receipts. Under this vision, the health of individuals, communities and the environment will be prioritized as chemicals like BPA pose strong hazards to reproductive health. I want to use Costco as an example of the interventions I believe we can see being implemented in society. Once one has purchased their items, they are given a receipt (printed on thermal paper) that they are to hold onto for an employee to check before they can leave Costco. Also, many people visit the food court and receive a receipt with their order number that they give back to an employee when their order has been prepared. Just think about the amount of time we hold on to those receipts - it’s crazy!
Companies like Costco can completely eliminate the use of paper receipts. Creating the option of emailing receipts will prevent BPA exposure yet still allows the customer to have proof of their purchase if they were to return an item. To eliminate the idea of checking receipts before leaving, Costco can adopt a technique that the Amazon grocery store uses in Seattle. At the Amazon store, carts have a technology that allows users to login into their accounts and the cart automatically scans and totals all the products that are put into the cart. Costco could create technology similar to this in that when a customer is about to leave, an employee could pull up their account information and find a list of all the items they placed in their cart and successfully paid for. Interventions as such and raising awareness about the toxicity of receipts will help us achieve action.
Hi Shanzeh, I really like your example! I never thought about just how long we hold onto these receipts. Especially with the food court, we hold onto the reciept and then exchange it for our food-who knows how much of this we're now ingesting!
Hi Shanzeh! As a Costco fan myself, I would love to see this happen! I'm so glad that you brought up a company that's so near and dear to our hearts and also gave them a feasible solution. I'm sure some die-hard Costco fans would be against anything changing or getting complicated but just a little change by one company would make such a big difference!
Great post Shanzeh, I've begun to notice that many stores are beginning to offer electronic receipts too, sending it through email. Before, I would always request a paper one too, just in case I wanted to return an item. It seems like now stores are beginning to use barcoded receipts so returns can be easily processed without presenting a physical receipt, which is a nice step.
I also had NO IDEA that there was BPA in our receipts. Sneaking plastic into things like that feels like we're being tricked because how did we just learn about this? Who was planning on telling us had we not chosen to take an environmental science course where topics like this might come up. The average person likely has no idea about things like this which makes me concerned for what else we might not know and therefore might not be aware needs fixing.
Wow this is such a great point! I really hope that we can continue to advocate for this kind of change! There is no reason that everyone should be forced to hold on to receipts when shopping, and the waste produced by places like Costco in the sole form of receipts is astonishing!
Hi Shanzeh, thanks for sharing! It's definitely a shock to me that we are exposed so frequently to BPA in our daily lives, and I believe it must pose an even higher risk to the cashiers. Yet receipts are also a huge amount of waste that we only probably need it for a few minutes. I really hope electronic receipts and more technologies can be implemented to eliminate the used of paper receipts.
UPDATE TO MY POST!
I was grabbing coffee at Blue Chip this morning and was pleasantly surprised when I got my receipt. They've switched their receipts to a recyclable and BPA free option produced by a company called EcoChit based in Richmond.
Hello Shanzeh, I really enjoyed reading this post. Like you I also found the the topic of BPA in receipts quite interesting. I love how you mention that Costco should adapt techniques similar to the Amazon grocery store in Seattle. When I read about what they were doing there I immediately though to myself how clever of an idea that is and how fun it would make grocery shopping. Additionally, if Costco and even other stores adapted these techniques you would never have to wait in the dreadful lineups that take longer than the grocery shopping itself.
Hey Shanzeh, the BPA content in receipts was definitely a shocker to me! It's crazy how something so common can accumulate so much harm. I really like your suggestion of going with paperless receipts and the technique that the Amazon grocery store uses, I believe Ikea uses a similar method where your cart is just automatically scanned! Really reduces the need for printing out paper receipts :)
Thanks for sharing! I like your specific Costco example and I think that your suggestion of adopting the Amazon technology is practical and effective. I would argue that this system would be even more effective than having an employee check receipts as customers leave (since well-developed technology tends to make less mistakes than humans).
I was also shocked when I heard about BPA's presence in receipts. After hearing so much about how BPA-free water bottles are so important, its surprising that there's isn't as much talk about receipts when we also encounter them so often in our daily lives. I like your suggestion of companies switching to emailed receipts, it would reduce our exposure to BPA as well as reduce waste at the same time!
I was super chocked to hear about BPA exposure through receipts as well. I love the solution you suggested though!
Great post!! i love shopping at costco and never even thought of bpa being used in receipts until we learned it in class. It would be great if costco followed amazon.
Great post, Shanez! I'm really impressed with the specific examples you used that really show how easy this issue is to remedy and how serious it is that we take action quickly. I was just as shocked as everyone else when I learned of the BPA in receipts. Although I stopped saying 'yes' to receipts at the till to avoid the unnecessary garbage accumulating in my pockets, wallets and bag, I cannot help but think about the countless times I would hold my hands in receipt-filled pockets on a cold day. How much BPA did i expose myself to there? Just because it isn't immediately deadly, does not mean it doesn't have the ability to decrease our quality of life. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for the post Shanzeh. I was also shocked to learn about the toxicity of receipts. Not only are they toxic, they are also non-recyclable. I know a lot of people think of receipts as paper and put them into the paper recycling (wish-cycle is another issue to discuss). You are right! Raising awareness is key about this issue because a lot people don't know how bad they are. And I really hope businesses will phase out the practise of giving out receipts.
Hey Shanzeh, I think this is super relevant because there may be more items like receipts that escape our radar and continue to harm us. I knew vaguely that receipts have harmful chemicals in them but the figure was still unexpectedly high. Great post!
I was also very shocked to learn this! I also like your idea to eliminate receipt usage in Costco.
I agree Shanzeh! I used to work a job where I touched thermal paper receipts all the time and it was shocking to hear these things in class today, but then also to read them again here.
Great post!I also was shocked learning about BPA!