HOW TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO phenols FROM RECEIPTS
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the best ways to reduce BPA and other phenol exposure from receipts is to simply not handle them for extended periods of time. Receipts should not come into contact with food and ideally should not be stored in pockets, wallets, or purses.
TIPS FOR CASHIERS
Fold receipts ink-side in.
Don't let receipts touch food.
Always encourage e-receipts if your workplace offers them.
Ask customers if they want a receipt and do not print one if they don't.
Avoid using hand sanitizers and lotions while touching receipts. Handle receipts with dry hands, as moisture, grease, and/or hand sanitizer can increase absorption by 10x-100x!
Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before eating.
Wear gloves. Or these funny-looking finger cots!
Get your managers involved! (Print a flyer here!)
TIPS FOR SHOPPERS
Don't take that receipt! (If necessary, take a photo of it and then throw it away.) Storing receipts in wallets contaminates 95% of dollar bills!
Ask for an E-receipt.
Avoid hand sanitizers and lotions and wash hands after handling receipts, especially before eating!
Avoid repurposing receipts (writing notes, blotting foods, wiping your face, etc).
Print out these cards and share with your local stores!
Contact us to tell us your stories, successes, and challenges!
TIPS FOR STORE MANAGERS
Establish a BPA-informed workflow
Educate your staff about BPA and BPS in receipts so they can make the best decisions for themselves on how to reduce exposure. Print and post one of our fun signs next to your register to let your customers know you’ll be printing fewer receipts!
Have cashiers ask customers if they want a receipt printed, and only print one if they say yes. (Asking this question alone reduces receipt handling by 30%!)
Don’t print merchant copies of receipts if your store already keeps an electronic record. This reduces paper use by half.
Do not recycle receipts.
Phenols contaminate water and other products.
Provide gloves for your cashiers.
Provide gloves & have cashiers fold their receipts ink side in as they hand to customers. We like these wacky but more environmentally sound finger gloves. You only need to cover a few fingers to reduce exposure!
Say no to hand sanitizer,& yes to soap!
Remove hand sanitizer from cashier counters & advise cashiers against using hand sanitizers and lotions when handling receipts. These can increase exposure by 10x-100x!
Remind cashiers to regularly wash hands with soap between shifts.
Separate food handling & receipt handling
Handling receipts with wet or greasy hands can increase the amount of exposure to BPA and BPS by 10x or more! Managers should try to separate these activities as much as possible, provide gloves for protection, and don’t let receipts touch food.
Say good-bye to paper receipts once and for all. Sending e-receipts can save you money on supplies, saves trees, allows you to connect with your customers through email, and makes everyone healthier!
Making the switch is easier than you think! Our partners at Green America have identified options which can be integrated with the point of sale system you have now, including the app-based TillBilly system that will allow customers to see their receipts even without providing an email address. Download Green American's great Point of Sale Technologies Guide for all the details! You can also check out page 18 of this report for more information on paperless Point of Sale software and hardware options.
Our partners at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency also provide great information on vendors and getting electronic receipts at your store.
Switch to phenol-Free thermal receipt papers.
While going paperless is the safest option, switching to non-phenol receipt paper is a step in the right direction. Thermal paper advertised as "BPA-free" does not mean it is free of other compounds similar to BPA. In fact, the majority of receipts actually contain BPS, now that everyone is on the BPA-free bandwagon! But BPS is proving to be just as toxic. If you can't go paperless, we recommend switching to a phenol-free paper which won't have BPA, BPS, or other phenols that are endocrine disruptors. We are most excited about a new paper option, Blue4est, which uses a physical process rather than a chemical process (see p. 41-42 of link). Contact Koehler Paper group for more information.
Beyond Blue4est, there isn't one clear option that has been proven to be 100% safe for people and the environment; but we've compiled this list of places to purchase phenol-free receipt paper online in a variety of sizes. Currently there are two readily available types of phenol-free paper, Pergafast 201, which is white in color, and Appvion Alpha-Free “Vitamin-C” paper, which has a light orange or yellow tint. While this second paper is advertised as having Vitamin-C as the developer, testing of the paper has shown it to also contain Dapsone, a chemical that can also be toxic.