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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
CVS, Target Working to ‘Skip the Slip’ with Digital, Non-Toxic Receipt Options

Green America’s new ‘Skip the Slip’ report tracks the progress on receipt practices of 35 major companies. The retailers’ switch reflects growing consumer demand for digital options and non-toxic, recyclable receipt paper.

Building on the dramatic reduction in paper receipt usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS — the largest US pharmacy chain — is working to make that a permanent change. Responding to pressure from Green America and thousands of consumers, CVS has increased promotion of its digital receipt option; and replaced the common thermal receipt paper coated in Bisphenol S (BPS) — an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to health — with phenol-free, recyclable paper in its 10,000 stores across the US.

Since 2017, Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization, has urged CVS and other retailers to reduce paper receipt waste and toxicity through its Skip the Slip campaign. Thousands of individuals signed Green America’s petition to CVS and contacted the company on social media; which resulted in a dialogue between CVS and Green America to discuss receipt alternatives, reducing the length of receipts, providing digital opt-in prompts for customers to sign up for digital receipts; and switching to phenol-free, recyclable paper.

With the increased promotion, CVS says over a million new customers signed up for its digital receipt option in 2019. The company reports that the digital program has saved 49 million yards of receipt paper, which Green America estimates is more than enough paper to circle the globe.

The new Skip the Slip report tracks the progress on receipt practices of 35 major retailers, QSR chains and fast-food chains — including Target, which has implemented phenol-free receipt paper and a digital receipt option; and Walmart, which offers a digital option at checkout but still uses phenol-coated papers.

The report also discusses changes in thermal paper demand — which had been steadily increasing each year in the United States, but has declined 10 percent (from 280,000 metric tons to 252,000) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline could become permanent, if consumers continue increased shopping from home and declining paper receipts at the register post-COVID.

“CVS’ changes to its receipt practices reflect the growing consumer demand for digital options and non-toxic, recyclable receipt paper,” said Beth Porter, Green America’s Climate Campaigns director. “We encourage the company to build on this progress by identifying the many more opportunities to reduce waste across its operations.”