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.