California Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Fine Businesses That Use Certain Paper Receipts

California State Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat, filed legislation on Thursday to institute fines for businesses which continue to use certain paper receipts.

Assembly Bill 1347 would impose fines for businesses which use receipts containing BPA or BPS, which are industrial chemicals used to make certain plastics, or including “items nonessential to the transaction” such as coupons or advertisements. Businesses in violation of the statute would be subjected to a daily fine of $25 capped at a total of $300 annually.

“When we get coffee to-go or a pack of gum, most of us don’t want or need a physical receipt,” Ting said in a press release. “It’s time we provide customers with the option to get no receipt or a digital receipt. It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and produce billions of pounds of carbon emissions.”

Ting referenced a report from Green America noting that 3 million trees and 10 billion gallons of water are used each year in the United States to manufacture paper receipts, generating 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. He invited constituents to endorse a petition affirming that “paper receipts have become unnecessary” and “have harmful chemicals that can be absorbed through our skin just by touching them.”

The lawmaker first introduced similar legislation in 2019, which stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The new bill to institute fines for paper receipts is the latest of several strict environmental regulations on consumers and businesses proposed in the state of California. Officials in San Francisco garnered controversy in 2018 for announcing crackdowns on plastic straws, stirrers, and toothpicks, while their counterparts in Santa Barbara considered issuing fines as high as $10,000 per offense for restaurants which use plastic straws.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) approved legislation over a year ago that prohibits certain food facilities from providing “any single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment” such as forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, and condiment cups and packets, according to a fact sheet from the California Health and Human Services Agency.


Environmental leaders lauded the official for signing the new restrictions. “Newsom has once again secured California’s position as a leader on tackling the global plastic pollution problem,” California Public Interest Research Group State Director Jenn Engstrom said in a statement, adding that the measures would “bring transparency to our recycling systems, help consumers make more informed choices and reduce the amount of unnecessary single-use plastics polluting our communities.”

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