I’ve really struggled with deciding what to write for today’s post. In a way, I feel like I’ve dealt with all the things that seem ‘obvious’ to me, and now I’m digging around, trying to find a new topic that doesn’t seem too daunting or unachievable.
Having given it some thought, I’ve decided to write about a very common but often unnoticed item: receipts. I’ve always felt the need to collect proof of all my purchases so I can write down exactly how much I’ve spent and what on (a project that is only successful intermittently). I kept years of receipts in envelopes in a drawer, all dated in the top right-hand corner, and a year or so ago I did go through them and recycled a lot of them.
But recently, I’ve read that recycling receipts can actually do more harm than good. Receipts are printed on thermal paper, which is bad for the environment because thermal paper often contains BPA, a harmful chemical. Recycling receipts therefore allows this chemical to get into supplies of recycled materials – e.g. toilet paper – which can potentially be dangerous.
I was pretty surprised when I found this out – it’s not something that I feel is really common knowledge! And when I ploughed through my piles of old receipts, I realised I don’t need records of all these purchases. If I’m paying with a credit or debit card, then I generally do like to have proof of purchase, but if it’s a small item such as toothpaste from Boots, I can either remember the price, jot it down or type it into the notepad app on my phone, thereby not needing to have a receipt printed.
So to recycle receipts or not? Because they’re paper, a part of me always want to recycle them! But maybe it’s better than paper containing BPA ends up in landfill. My policy is going to be avoid receipts when possible, and if I need one or it’s printed automatically for me, then I’ll use the other side (if it’s blank) for shopping lists or to-do lists before I through them away. This will save using a new sheet of paper, if nothing else.
What do you think? Do you hoard receipts (or other items you don’t really need?)