Categories News

Digital Receipts or (Toxic) Paper

Paper Receipts

No contact information is required

It may be faster to provide paper receipts

Most paper receipts cannot be recycled and are Bad for the health

People quickly lose receipts, and the letters can to fade

Rolls, printers and inks cost money

Digital Receipts

Receipts can be found anytime, anywhere

Digital receipts are ideal for administration

Mostly free POS system feature

You often need to ask the customer for contact information

Customers can insist on paper receipt

At first it seems crazy to draw paper receipts in question. After all, they form an important part of our daily life and are almost indispensable for the independent entrepreneur. Yet the discussion about the use of paper receipts is flaring up – and rightly so.

What’s wrong with paper receipts, and why are many entrepreneurs switching to digital?

Health hazard

It is assumed that 2 billion receipts are printed in the Netherlands every year ( Most of these receipts contain the harmful substance Bisphenol A, which is responsible for the glossy coating. These receipts cannot therefore be recycled. People who often handle receipts even risk an increased risk of many serious illnesses.

In Japan, they therefore already abolished BPA in 2003. BPA is found on all types of thermal paper, glossy paper that the receipt printer spits out without using ink. Thermal paper poses many health risks, including:

Hormone fluctuations
Increased risk of infertility, miscarriage or premature birth
Prostate Cancer
Type 2 diabetes
Behavioral changes in children
Crippled brain and nervous system development
Heart disease

BPA is absorbed directly through the skin – unfavorable for cashiers handling receipts all day long. And if you try to wash your hands, it actually helps the fabric to enter. So the only defense against BPA is a pair of gloves. The substance can get stuck in your system for months, causing it to build up further and making symptoms worse.

Environmental impact

It is estimated that 300 billion receipts are printed around the world every year. This requires 25 million trees, 18 billion liters of water and 22 million barrels of oil. Today this is no longer possible, it is a useless waste with regard to the digitization of invoicing.

In addition, BPA is not only harmful to your health – it cannot be recycled because it would cause the substance to circulate more, eventually ending up in the groundwater. It is therefore strongly recommended to leave the receipts out of the trash. Unfortunately, the Netherlands generates more than a million tons of paper waste per year, less than our neighbors, but nonetheless problematic.

There are solutions, namely environmentally friendly paper receipts without harmful coating. However, the average person cannot distinguish different paper types, which does not make recycling any easier.

Surprisingly inefficient

Under the guise of “efficiency”, shops will often automatically print a receipt, even if the customer does not always want this. This is so bad that 90% of all receipts end up in the trash, usually right after they are printed. How often do you not see a trash can next to the till? The other 10% is usually lost when the time comes for return or bookkeeping.

Entrepreneurs who keep receipts for write-offs also suffer, as most accounting systems today use digital copies. Accounting via the cloud is gaining popularity as a result. The cloud bypasses the problem of damage or loss and works perfectly with the new accounting systems. This makes it even more annoying for those who scan all their receipts, as it is much faster to receive your invoices digitally immediately.

Extra costs for companies

Although your receipt is usually printed for free, it costs the store money. The retailer not only has to pay extra for a built-in or stand-alone receipt printer, but also continuously thinks about printing materials and maintenance. For the smaller retailer, this can tangibly adjust your profit margin.

Often the cheaper card readers come without a built-in printer, while more expensive card readers (usually with a long-term contract) use a thermal printing process. In the second case, there is often no option to print cash transaction receipts, making these card readers virtually useless for business owners who want to debit or only accept cash.

Are digital receipts better?

Invoicing via email or SMS bypasses the impact on the environment, and as long as your email is not hacked (or accidentally deleted) you keep a permanent record of all your transactions. Of course, the customer may prefer not to share his or her email or telephone number with you.

On the other hand, you see that busy stores often do not want to introduce an extra step in the payment process, since entering contact information does not speed up the queues.

Paper and digital receipts both have advantages and disadvantages. However, this does not mean that an optimal solution does not exist. The growing need for companies to operate in an environmentally friendly way without losing money is paving the way for more creative systems.

For example, automatically storing debit receipts in a mobile wallet, banking app or third party app.

Opportunities for companies

Most cloud-based POS systems easily connect to your thermal printer. This often provides the cheapest way out for stores wishing to hand out paper receipts, which is in the way of achieving an environmentally conscious economy. Today, however, there is a wide range of BPA-free printing papers available in various web stores, so the environmentally friendly (or hypochondriac) retailer does not have to throw away his thermal printer.

On the other hand, shops can also opt for the proven system of handwritten receipts for the customers who want a receipt. This is not even such a bad idea, as customers ask for a receipt less and less. For busy business this may not be the best option as it does take some time.

One thing is clear: the digital receipt is on the rise among large and small entrepreneurs. Our App has already implemented it, but food stalls, cafes and many other small businesses are already doing this, often through very simple POS systems.