Paper Receipts: The Facts

Explore the key topics related to paper receipts, such as sustainable forestry, recycling, consumer preferences and safety.

Paper receipts are an integral part of our everyday lives. For decades, these small slips of paper have provided customers and businesses with essential proof of purchase required for record keeping, exchanges, refunds and product disputes.

As can be expected in our digital world, electronic alternatives to these indispensable records have been developed and are increasingly being adopted by retailers around the world.

It is, however, important for retailers to consider the arguments for keeping paper receipts given consumer preferences and the fact that digital options may not be welcome by many.

Shoppers prefer paper receipts. Are you one of them?


of consumers surveyed prefer paper receipts


believe paper receipts are more practical when returning goods


of consumers would be unhappy if stores no longer offered paper receipts

The Choose Paper campaign advocates for the right of consumers to receive paper receipts by educating the public about their numerous benefits, sustainability and safety.

Fast Facts

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Paper receipts support sustainable forestry

Paper receipts support sustainable forestry 1024 678 Choose Paper

Paper is made from trees harvested from sustainably managed forests which are a renewable, natural resource. A healthy market for forest products, such as paper receipts, helps promote the long-term sustainable management of forests.

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Paper has unique sustainable qualities

Paper has unique sustainable qualities 1024 683 Choose Paper

Concerns have been raised over the environmental impacts of paper receipts, including greenhouse gases emitted and the amount of water consumed in the manufacturing process. All products and industries have an environmental impact but a look at the facts shows that paper can be a sustainable and environmentally-sound choice.

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Digital receipts have environmental impacts

Digital receipts have environmental impacts 1024 682 Choose Paper

Information and communication technology (ICT) products and services are consuming a growing amount of the world’s energy, requiring an increasing amount of non-renewable raw materials (including rare earth metals) and producing a vast amount of e-waste.

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Consumers prefer paper receipts

Consumers prefer paper receipts 1024 684 Choose Paper

For customers and businesses, a receipt is proof of purchase. For the customer, it can enable refunds or reflect the agreed-upon cost of a transaction. For a business, a receipt proves that the customer authorized a transaction. Legislation has recently been introduced in California that will require businesses to provide electronic receipts by default unless a customer requests a paper one. But is this what customers want?

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Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world

Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world 1024 685 Choose Paper

Paper receipts are made from cellulose fibre, a natural, recyclable material that originally comes from sustainably managed forests in many regions of the world. To sustain the global fibre papermaking cycle and the many different paper grades produced, both recycled fibre and wood fibre from sustainably managed forests are essential.

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Paper receipts are safe to use

Paper receipts are safe to use 1024 683 Choose Paper

Overall, paper receipts represent a very low risk to human health due to low quantities of chemicals present in the paper. Thermal papers must also meet all country-specific legislation on chemical composition.

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