Can you recycle receipts?

Can You Recycle Receipts?

Though we are living in the digital age, we are still using the receipts. Receipts are pieces of paper, which serves as evidence of receiving something or serving as proof that the service/product had been received. When we shop or buy the services of a business, we are handed a piece of paper. This paper is a receipt, which marks a bill as paid.

These little pieces of paper compile and pile up fast. Daily transactions are made by the businesses and the consumers, so a large pile of receipts ends up in the landfills as receipts cannot be recycled.

So, we come to the big question: “Can you recycle the receipts?” Normally, we come to think that the receipts are recyclable because they are made of paper. However, this is not the case. Some receipts can be recycled, while others cannot be recycled. The good news is that there are different types of receipts.

Types of the Receipts

There are mainly two types of receipts. These general types are described below:

1.  White Paper Receipts

This is the regular ink receipts, which are printed on the regular paper receipts. regular white paper and ink receipts are recyclable and compostable. However, you cannot compost and recycle every receipt. Inks contain toxic materials, which cannot be disposed of easily. You need to take the regular white paper and ink receipts to the local paper recycling authorities. They will identify the recyclable regular white paper and ink receipts, and dispose of them in the proper manner.

2.  Thermal Receipts

Thermal receipts are recent developments, which are used widely by the merchants. This is a simple procedure, which is quieter and more affordable than the white ink papers. Thermal receipts do not need any ink to print the receipts. Instead, heat is used to symbolize the letters and numbers on the receipts. When the paper passes through the thermal print head, the chemical coating burns the parts of the page where the printing needs to be done. This is how thermal receipts print letters and numbers on the thermal receipts magically.

Importance of Proper Disposal of Receipts:

First of all, one may ask the importance of the recycling of receipts.

It is important to dispose of regular white paper and ink receipts because they contain toxic materials. Instead of getting bothered by the pile of the regular ink receipts, you must be worried about the persistence of the receipts. These receipts, according to the experts, are coated in Bisphenol A or BPA. BPA is a hazardous environmental toxin. In most cases, these receipts go into the landfills because most of the receipts are not recyclable.

So, the question “can you recycle the receipts?” is important to ask in times when plastic pollution is not only disturbing the soils, oceans, and the air with its toxic substances but also humans.

Regular White Paper And Ink Receipts and Thermal Receipts: Can You Recycle the Receipts?

Let us consider the recycling of receipts one by one:

Regular White Paper And Ink Receipts: Can You Recycle the Receipts?

Regular white papers are recyclable and compostable. However, printing inks are made of the mixtures, which consist of resins and organic polymers, diluents, additives, and pigments. All of these materials, for the printing inks, are derived from petroleum. These chemical substances are non-biodegradable and non-compostable due to their chemical nature. So, we come to the conclusion that regular white papers are recyclable but the regular white papers with printing inks are complicated and tricky subjects. So, regular white paper and ink receipts cannot be recycled.

Thermal Ink Receipts: Can You Recycle the Receipts?

Thermal Ink Receipts are commonly used by merchants nowadays. Merchants do not use it because thermal ink receipts are biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable. The ruthless reality is that thermal ink receipts are more affordable than regular receipts. This is why thermal ink receipts are being widely utilized by the merchants.

Another disturbing fact is that thermal ink receipts are not recyclable and compostable. Thermal ink receipts contain some chemical substance, which is why thermal ink receipts cannot be recycled with other papers at the plant. Due to the toxic substances, thermal ink receipts cannot be recycled at the local plant systems.

Thermal ink paper requires a separate recycle receipts system. But, the separate recycle receipts system for thermal ink would be disastrous for the environment. Thermal receipts consist of more than one material. Lastly, thermal receipts are not recyclable because more BPA would be released into the air if the receipts are recycled.

Recycling the Receipts at Local Recycling Facility

There may be local recycling facilities, which will offer the recycling facilities of the thermal-ink and white paper receipts. The representatives at the local recycling facility differentiate between the compostable/biodegradable or non-compostable/non-biodegradable papers. Based on their final reports, receipts are recycled. The rejected receipts at the recycling facilities are sent to the landfills.

What is the Solution To the Receipts Waste Problem?

We are living in a digital world, wherein we are not only using online banking but paying and receiving cash online. Then, why can we not digitalize the receipts?

Receipts need not be printed if they are causing environmental pollution. Receipts can be sent online on the consumer account from the vendor’s accounts. There, it can be signed or checked by the consumer. The payment may be made in person or online, depending on the convenience of the consumer. This is how plastic pollution created by the receipts can be reduced most effectively.


There are two types of receipts: regular white paper and ink receipts and thermal ink receipts. Due to the usage of the inks and chemical substances, both of these types of receipts are not recyclable. If you use the digital receipts system, it will help you in reducing the pollution caused by the receipts most effectively. To achieve this, both consumers and businesses have to make concerted efforts by adapting to technology. Only then, we will be a successful sustainable living community.

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