Can you recycle receipts?

Can You Recycle Receipts?


Inspired by the idea of a sustainable lifestyle, we bring the most discussed topic to answer: which is “Are Receipts Recyclable” Actually, receipts are recyclable, and you could easily recycle them with your other papers, but not all of them are.

More than 50% of the receipts we receive in restaurants, supermarkets, shops, and others are made from shiny thermal paper. Which is the combination of more than one material, making it difficult to separate because it’s potentially coated with harmful substances or chemicals, like BPA and BPS.

So, composting these thermal receipts is even worse because this could release harmful chemicals (BPA & BPS) to surface water, increasing human exposure. Though not all receipts are chemically coated, it’s impossible to find out with a naked eye.

How Many Types of Receipts Are There?

So far, you’ve known the types of receipts floating around, such as thermal and printed ones.

The printed paper is an old-fashioned yet crispy paper that’s printed with ink, whereas the other is the soft yet shiny thermal paper that comes out of debit machines and cash registers.

Quick Tip – Scratch the paper; if you see a dark line appear, it contains BPA or BPS (Meaning, it’s a thermal yet chemically coated receipt paper).

Ordinary printed paper yet old-fashioned receipts are rarely seen these days in the markets, but they can easily be recycled if you get some. On the contrary, thermal paper is now everywhere and found in most shopping centers, but it cannot be recycled.

Why People Use Thermal Receipts over Paper Receipts?

Can You Recycle Receipts?

The main reason shop owners prefer thermal receipts over printed ones is cost and convenience. You don’t need to buy separate inks or rollers, allowing you to save cost, time, and maintenance on overprinted receipts.

So What Should You Do With Your Thermal Receipts?

We don’t advise you to recycle receipts because it will contaminate others easy to recycle products in the stream. Moreover, burning is also not advisable because it will release BPS or BPA, ending you up contaminating the air.

So, what should you do with it?

We advise you to chuck those receipts in the bin rather than recycling them. Keep in mind, much of the receipts that you throw in the bin ends up getting landfilled. In other words, all that chemically coated thermal receipts end up outside, where it can leach into our soil, water, and air. If this worries you, there are other options.

You can always opt to receive an e-receipt at the point of purchase. However, an increasing number of shop owners are now offering digital receipts as an alternative. So opt for this if you’re concerned about sustainable living.

What’s The Best Solution Then?

If you cannot recycle those ugly thermal receipts, avoiding them will be the best possible solution.

The perfect solution is to ask your shop owner for receipts to be emailed rather than printed. It not only avoids your chemical exposure, but it also helps you to decrease demand for a paper product that drives extensive deforestation every year.

In the United Kingdom, most shop owners offer to email your receipt rather than giving you a thermal one. It will be the most advisable yet finest paperless solution for sustainable living.


So, before tossing all those receipts into the trash, find out can you recycle receipts?  If you’re still receiving thermal paper receipts, trash them if your hauler doesn’t accept them.

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