California Introduces ‘Skip the Slip’ Paper Receipt Bill

A new bill in the California Assembly would make the state the first in the U.S. to mandate that retailers must offer digital receipts as the default to customers starting January 1, 2022. Customers will still be able to request a paper receipt in lieu of a digital receipt.

Reflecting the focus of Green America’s “Skip the Slip” campaign, the bill, introduced by Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will help protect consumers and workers from the toxins that often coat paper-based receipts, while also creating substantial environmental benefits, say proponents.

“We applaud Assembly member Ting for introducing legislation that will protect the health of California workers and consumers, while protecting the environment,” said Green America’s climate and recycling director Beth Porter. “Over time, this legislation would prevent millions of trees from being logged for paper receipts, which fewer and fewer consumers want, and which often go straight to landfills. This bill will make California a leader in addressing the impacts of paper-based receipts.”

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The penalties in Ting’s bill are modeled on the straw bill, said Nick Lapis of Californians Against Waste. It calls for written warnings for the first two violations and a fine of $25 a day for subsequent infractions, with an annual $300 cap.

“It’s intended to be a pretty light touch in terms of enforcement,” Lapis said.

Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber said he’s concerned the receipt proposal could be burdensome for small businesses, won’t save that much paper and may not be practical in rural areas without internet connections.

In addition, “then they have your email, then they’ll be marketing to you or selling your information or it can get into privacy issues,” he said.

Ting said consumers can still request paper receipts if they are worried about giving out their email addresses.

Photo caption: Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, displays a long paper receipt as he discusses his bill to require businesses to offer electronic receipts, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)