In India, the process of making a transaction at a retail store and getting a printed receipt is so familiar that we may sometimes think that it is the only way to get a record of purchase of products or services. But think about what happens to most of those receipts. They get crumpled up in pockets, lost in the dresser drawer, left in car, or thrown out. Though some of those receipts do get kept for tax or business purposes, it’s definitely a challenge to preserve those receipts. Hence, majority of those receipts wind up in the trash or sitting around the house until the ink on the receipt fades away. Then the receipt no longer has any value. It must have happened to all of us that we purchased something from a store but due to lost receipt, we had a tough time in returning the purchased item, getting it replaced or claiming its warranty.
No one seems to want paper receipts, and few people really need them, yet we see that Paper receipts are ubiquitous in India. Over 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water are consumed each year in the creation of receipts for the United States alone, generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste. In UK, more than 11 billion receipts are printed each year, each costing just under a cent to print.
As per a report published by Alletronic, a digitization firm, Fifteen trees are needed in order to make one ton of paper. The U.S. demands 640,000 tons of paper for receipts each year. This means that 9.6 million trees are cut down each year so people can get receipts that most will throw away promptly upon receiving them. In India, the consumption of paper for receipts is close to 705,550 tons.
The paper receipts have served us well. It’s simple and practical, but in this digital world, that little piece of paper is headed towards extinction. Now is the time to think of receipt digitization and saving the trees and hence our precious environment. Saving a tree is as good as planting one.