California could become the first state to require companies to offer electronic receipts, unless customers specifically request hard copies.
On Tuesday, Democratic MP Phil Ting, of San Francisco, proposed, with the help of a very large paper ticket, legislation compelling businesses to offer customers electronic receipts.
Many companies in the Golden State and the country are already turning to electronic receipts, but Ting's bill would make it a standard.
Ting says law is needed because paper receipts pose a health risk that many consumers are unaware of – chemical products Biphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS), already banned in baby bottles, can not be recycled and are covered with most paper receipts.
The bill would require all businesses to provide evidence of their purchases electronically starting in 2022, unless a client requests a printed copy.
The penalties in Ting's bill are modeled on the state's straw bill, said Nick Lapis of Californians Against Waste. He calls for written warnings for the first two violations and a fine of $ 25 per day for the following offenses, with an annual ceiling of $ 300.
But not everyone agrees with the ban on paper receipts.
Republican MP Brian Dahle of Bieber said he was concerned that the acknowledgment proposal could be burdensome for small businesses, not saving a lot of paper and might not be practical in areas rural without an internet connection.
In addition, "then they will have your email, so they will sell you or exchange your information or this could pose privacy issues," he said.
Ting said that consumers can still request paper receipts if they are afraid to give their email address.
Many department stores already offer the choice of paper or electronic receipts, but it's hard to say if a mandate would cause any problems for small and medium-sized stores, said California Retailers Association spokeswoman Pamela Williams. His association and other business groups have not taken a position on the bill.
Ting said that businesses can save money by moving away printed receipts.
The Green America advocacy group, which runs a "Jump the Steps" campaign, has estimated that millions of trees and billions of gallons of water are used each year to produce paper receipts at United States.
Ting cited studies by the Environmental Working Group and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that retail workers had higher levels of BPA or BPS than those in the industry. 39, having no regular contact with receipts.
Ting, with the use of his life prop – a man carrying a very long paper receipt – has demonstrated how paper receipts can be bulky and unprofitable.
And he is not the first to point out how receipts can be ridiculously long.
Associated Press contributed to this report.