You can’t recycle receipts, here’s what to do instead

While you may think paper receipts can go in your recycling bin, KESAB warns that chemicals printed on the paper are environmentally harmful.

While we all want to put our best foot forward when it comes to creating a greener future, it can be tricky to know exactly what is supposed to end up in recycling.

Newspaper, paper towels and tissues can all go in your recycling bins – but what about your receipts? While it may appear logical that paper receipts can wind up in your green or yellow bin, that is hardly the case.

In a Facebook post last week, KESAB Environmental Solutions alerted South Australian’s to the fact that receipts are neither recyclable nor compostable due to the chemicals printed on the paper.

“The BPA ink used in most receipts means they cannot be composted or recycled and therefore must go into the landfill (blue or red lid) bin,” says KESAB.

“Where possible, ask to have your receipt emailed to you instead of getting a physical copy.”

If your receipt contains black ink or lettering, it has most likely been printed on thermal paper using BPA ink and must be placed in landfill. The new technology associated with thermal paper sees the printer use heat instead of real ink on paper receipts, leaving behind BPA particles.

The chemicals found within BPA ink are hormone disrupters, and are difficult to remove during the recycling process. The chemicals are easily transferable too, so if placed in the recycling or compost it is highly likely BPA paper receipts would contaminate other materials.

Although disposing of receipts in the trash doesn’t feel like a sustainable move, it is the only effective way to ensure the harsh chemicals are isolated from the environment. To help do your bit for the planet, it’s best to either refuse a paper receipt or see if the business can email it to you.

To find out how to create a more sustainable future, check out our ultimate guide to recycling here.

To stay up to date with environmental tips from KESAB, check out their Facebook.

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