On May 30, the California State Assembly approved AB 1347, also known as Skip-The-Slip. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, offers consumers the choice between digital and print proof of purchase, or receipts.
AB 1347 is part of a larger push towards the adoption of electronic receipts, which have lower potential for negative environmental and public health impacts than printed receipts.
“In this digital age, customers should have options. It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and produce billions pounds of carbon emissions when we buy a cup of coffee or a pack of gum,” Ting said in a press release. “AB 1347 gives customers a choice, allowing for a paper receipt when it’s needed.”
According to Nicole Kurian, the legislative director for Californians Against Waste — an environmental nonprofit that focuses on waste and recycling legislation in California — AB 1347 is the first of its kind: There is no current law regulating how consumers should receive receipts.
The legislation comes off the heels of a 2020 report by Green America, which conducted a series of nationwide surveys on consumer surveys. According to Kurian, the nonprofit found that consumers already prefer to use digital receipts over paper ones, both for purposes of storage and increased convenience. In addition, the surveys found that Americans frequently lose or discard their paper receipts.
“Our position is that a lot of times, paper receipts are often printed and Americans either throw them away immediately or they lose them,” Kurian said. “So it sort of defeats the purpose of receiving a paper receipt.”
In addition, Kurian said AB 1347 is informed by public health concerns over BPA and BPS, known endocrine disrupting chemicals sometimes found in paper receipts, especially those that are thermally printed. Further, Kurian noted these chemicals can inhibit recycling; studies have shown that BPA and BPS can appear in recycled paper products, such as toilet paper, when they enter the recycling stream.
The bill, however, was not without opposition.
“Businesses were saying that this would create a burden on certain businesses,” Kurian said.
In response to opposition, the bill now exempts business and healthcare nonprofits that make less than $2 million per year, according to Kurian. She added the bill will mostly apply to businesses who are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA.
CCPA contains many protections for consumers’ personal information, which was also an initial concern several expressed about AB 1347 given that many digital receipts require consumers to provide their email or phone number, Kurian noted.
As the bill currently only applies to businesses under the CCPA’s jurisdiction, it only applies to businesses that make more than $25 million annually.
AB 1347 will come into statute in 2024 before the law is enacted in 2025.