SCRIPT: Can receipts be recycled? [April 2, 2019]

Compiled by John Millen
Compiled by John Millen |

Latest Articles

Hong Kong's current Legco members will continue to serve for one year, says Beijing

Student-founded Class of 2021 Community provides support for university applicants

Jimmy Lai's sons, pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow released on bail

US presidential hopeful Joe Biden chooses Senator Kamala Harris as running mate

Peter: Hang on a minute.  Let me check the receipts again. One carton of milk, two loaves of bread, one packet of pasta, two cans of tomatoes, three aubergines, two packets of shredded cheese ... Remind me again, what do we need the cheese for?

Maggie: To sprinkle on top of the spaghetti. We’re having a dinner party this weekend and I’m trying out a new recipe.

Peter: Ah, right. A bottle of bleach, two packets of detergent, and three boxes of tissue paper. It looks like we’ve got everything on the receipt. Where’s the nearest recycling bin? I want to put these receipts in the bin before we leave.   

Maggie: Do you always ask for receipts? That’s actually not environmental friendly because receipts cannot be recycled.  

Peter: Oh! Why not?

Maggie: Most receipts are printed on shiny, thermal paper that contains BPA and BPS. These chemicals have been banned in other plastic products such as water bottles, because they can be harmful to our health when we are exposed to them in large amounts. Just like coffee cups, receipts are non-recyclable because they’re made from more than one material and most of them end up in landfills.

Peter: That’s just a terrible waste of paper. I’ve always thought it’s okay to ask for receipts as long as I recycle them. What should I do instead?    

Maggie: Well, some supermarkets are trialling a paperless receipt system that uses unique customer barcodes. Others are switching to e-receipts so you can ask for a digital receipt to be sent to your email instead of a printed one.

Peter: That’s a good idea. I’ll check with the supermarket if they provide e-receipts. It’s also more convenient because I can view my buying history at any time.   

Maggie: I agree! More importantly, every little step helps in the fight to save our environment. If everyone gets into the habit of refusing printed receipts, we would save a great amount of paper every year and cut down on the rubbish that goes to the landfills. 

Peter: You’re right!