Could paper receipts in CA be illegal? Bay Area lawmaker reintroduces bill to make them request-only

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, March 3, 2023
Push to ditch paper receipts in CA reintroduced by Bay Area lawmaker
To demonstrate how wasteful l they are, San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting had a staffer dress up as a life-sized receipt as he reintroduced legislation to make them request-only.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the future, if you would like to receive a paper receipt for any transaction, you may have to ask for one. Paper receipts, only upon request is part of legislation reintroduced Thursday by San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting.

The goal of AB 1347 is to encourage waste reduction and to limit potential health exposure said to come from the chemically coated pieces of paper.

The move has even gained support from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel who called out a company known for handing out wildly long receipts.

"That's right CVS, I'm talking to you," he said during a monologue. "I believe a receipt for a pack of gum should not be tall enough to ride Space Mountain and finally someone is doing something about it."

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Ting is behind the effort, bringing back "Skip the Slip."

Once a quintessential part of any transaction, Ting told reporters that receipts use up valuable natural resources and risk the health of consumers and retail workers who are exposed to the toxins that coat them.

To demonstrate how wasteful they are, Ting had a staffer dress up as a life-sized receipt.

"3 million trees, 10 billion gallons of water, 302 million pounds of waste on the backside," he said, pointing to data by non-profit Green America. The numbers point to use per year.

"Cause they're not getting recycled, they're not getting reused," Ting added. "There's not some circular economy around them."

RELATED: Fewer people in California recycled compared to 2020, data shows

Randy Musterer, owner of Sushi Confidential in Downtown San Jose, said once an order is placed, several tickets are immediately printed, alerting the kitchen and the bar.

"We have three tickets that pop up at that time," Musterer described. "Then at the end, when we're closing out the customer, then we're printing out two or three tickets- the itemized ticket, the customer copy and the restaurant copy."

Musterer isn't surprised about the push to limit the printing of long paper receipts, but he stands firm on the state's restaurants and retailers providing customers with options.

Fortunately, he said, the pandemic forced most business owners to go digital and adopt contactless interactions and paperless transactions.

LA resident and Sushi Confidential customer, Lindsay Castagnola told ABC7 News, "It's always kind of felt like a waste of paper for me. As soon as everything was switched over to the tablets at local businesses or wherever, I choose no receipt, or I'll email it."

AB 1347 would put the choice of receiving a paper receipt, quite literally, in the hands of customers.

Though committee hearings are expected to begin in the Spring, Musterer said consideration needs to be put on the smaller establishments that don't have the point-of-sale digital infrastructure to meet the moment.

"They're gonna have to search other POS companies to be able to sign on and pay for that hardware, that software use," he noted. "So it could be extra cost for some small mom and pop restaurants."

For additional details on Assm. Ting's reintroduced legislation, click here.

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