Can you Recycle Receipts?

Can you Recycle Receipts?

One of the curiosities that we can usually have day to day regarding receipts is whether they can be recycled. It is a very frequent question that undoubtedly has an answer that surprises most people.

Despite being paper material, receipts have a substance that does not allow them to be qualified as recyclable or biodegradable. This translates into a big problem when it comes to disposing of them. The reason is that we don't really know where we should put them or what measures we can take to take care of the environment.

Nowadays, the following questions are very common: "How much do Scrap Yards Pay for Appliances?", "How much does 1800GotJunk Cost?", "Can You Flush Tampons in the Toilet?". And it's all part of people's interest in learning how to recycle and be much more environmentally friendly.

Why can't receipts be recycled?

We all know that receipts are a product that we handle almost daily every time we go to make a purchase, sell an item, or at work if we manipulate the invoice machine. Although there are 2 types of receipts of which only one of them is the one that can be recycled, it is not the most advisable.

This is because both receipts contain a substance that has been proven to be too toxic to be recycled; we are talking about bisphenol or BPA. It is a substance that is generally contained in thermal receipts.

For that reason, those receipts that contain BPA cannot be recycled because they are not made entirely of paper. Another reason why receipts cannot be recycled is because BPA is easy to transfer and during the recycling process, it can damage the rest of the paper.

How to identify receipts that cannot be recycled?

As mentioned above, there are 2 types of receipts, of which only one can be recycled and it all depends on the company or county we are in. For that reason, we must be careful when placing them in the containers.

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We can pay attention to certain characteristics to be able to differentiate which receipts cannot be recycled, from those that can.

  • The lettering on non-recyclable receipts is a brighter color
  • The paper of non-recyclable receipts is of a softer material, so much so that it looks like plastic
  • Recyclable receipts have lighter-colored lettering

Many companies still use thermal paper receipts because they look better aesthetically, are more legible, and because of their durability over time. However, this is a serious mistake due to the harmful chemicals used in them.

receipts recycled

Even, according to some studies conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, they have established that high levels of BPA are the cause of different heart problems and hormone-related cancer.

Would it be possible to dispose of the receipts?

As we already know that they cannot be recycled, the most logical thing to do would be to throw them in the landfill; however, this is not an adequate option because since they are not biodegradable, they cannot be simply thrown away because they are harmful.

receipts recycled reddit

This is because the conditions in which landfills are found do not help in the decomposition of the BPA substances contained in thermal paper receipts.

Many will think that incineration may be a great idea, but it is completely the opposite. This is because when this substance is burned, we are releasing more particles of it into the environment.

It can be even much more dangerous to have it in the environment because it can enter our bodies more easily and thus start to damage our health considerably. Although there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of the receipts, there are some options we can do to dispose of them in a way that makes them less harmful.

What should be done to dispose of bills?

One of the aspects that we must consider if we do not see a better option to dispose of the receipts is to throw them in the trash; however, first, we must do a series of steps to ensure a faster decomposition and less harm to the environment.

  • Place the receipt in a shredder or make sure to cut it well with a scissors
  • Cut off the parts where it contains personal information such as names, ID number, address, and card numbers
  • Once this is done, then you can proceed to throw them away in the trash can
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More than taking care of the environment, it is for safety, because erasing data from this type of paper can be complicated. For that reason, we should always take certain measures, even if we know that they will go straight to a landfill or incinerator.

How to avoid contamination of thermal paper receipts?

Most, if not all, companies have this billing system where they use thermal paper receipts. However, there are some companies that have taken conscience and use organic paper for such transactions, even though this may be a little clear to the eye.

Furthermore, due to advances in technology, we can opt for many other ways to avoid the production of thermal paper receipts. One of them is self-checking; that is, we can simply ask them not to issue any invoice.

Another option you can opt for is to request digital receipts, it is a safer and faster option. You can even try to make larger purchases to avoid the frequency of purchases and the production of more invoices.

How do receipts affect the environment?

A very interesting fact that not everyone knows is that to produce thermal paper, which is the most commonly used for invoices, about 9 million trees must be cut down in the USA.

Which we know is great damage that is being produced in the environment, and we are talking about that these figures are annual. That is why we are calling people's attention so that they can be a little more aware at the time of making purchases.

These are surprising factors that not many people are aware of, but that little by little may be affecting more and more the surrounding environment.


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