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Is The Paper Receipt Becoming A Thing Of The Past?

No matter how ‘paperless’ we try to go, the world will still keep trying to throw paper into our lives. Case in point – every time you go shopping you will be given a printed paper receipt, varying in length depending on how much you’ve bought. Our wallets are purses are often bursting with reams of paper, many of which end up going through the shredder without a second glance. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to record our purchases without such a waste of paper?

What’s The Real Cost Of The Humble Receipt?

In the UK, over 11 billion receipts are printed every single year. Creating this number of receipts uses over 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water each year. It’s a completely unsustainable model for something that largely goes unwanted or unused. For many people receipts are a sure fire way to bloat your wallet, being cleared out and shredded in a monthly (or yearly for some) purge without even being looked at. Very few people need receipts for everything they purchase, instead preferring to only keep receipts relating to major purchases – and even then only until the warranty has run out. But despite this, receipts have remained a staple for all retailers – an expected result of spending money. Even if a retailer asks you ‘do you want the receipt?’ as many do nowadays – that receipt still prints even if you say no. They just throw it away instead of giving it to you. So in a bid to revolutionise the buying process and protect our environment, there have been some really interesting trials taking place.

Testing The Waters

receipt2As we speak, retail giant Tesco are trialling a system where an e-receipt is sent to customers, instead of being printed out at the till point. This allows the customer to keep a digital log of the purchase and eliminates the need for paper receipts. Tesco are not the first to trial this new system, which has retailers send a digital receipt to a customer’s email address or a specifically designed mobile phone app called ‘Tap And Tag’. This app can be linked with contactless cards, so that when the card is used the receipt is sent directly to the app without prompting. The system could also be modified to work with loyalty cards for individual stores, which have this information filed already. There is also an option for a ‘short receipt’ for those who need it, which is a tenth of the size of a standard receipt.

Apple stores were the trailblazer for this system, which they began using in 2005. Debenhams and TopShop followed suit in 2015, while still keeping the option for a paper receipt to be printed. Retailers suggest that the system allows customers to keep all of their receipts in one place, making shopping easier and more convenient. They also mention that the data cannot be used for marketing or other purposes, as all data is stored anonymously. By using the ‘Tap and Tag’ or other digital receipt systems, retailers have found that time is saved at the till, waste and paper consumption is reduced and customers enjoy a more relaxed shopping experience.

But is this the end of the paper receipt? According to many experts, not quite. People still enjoy seeing the money they have saved and the ability to check that they haven’t been overcharged for anything in the store. Many businesses still require paper receipts for expenses, so paper receipts will still be needed by many. At Hungry Shredder we understand the issues around paper consumption, which is why we do our best to reduce the impact you (and we) have on the environment. Our secure shredding service not only helps you run an efficient, eco-friendly office, but all paper and materials shredded by us are recycled and turned into new materials, saving trees and other natural resources.  For more information or to find out about our eco-friendly shredding solutions, get in touch today.