Cash register receipts should not be put into paper recycling or your compost.
Most cash register receipts, ATM receipts, thermal fax paper, boarding passes, and similar printouts use thermal paper containing BPA (Bisphenol A) or BPS (Bisphenol S, in “BPA-free” paper). Recycling or composting them may contaminate recycled paper products, processor waste water, or garden soil.
Put register receipts in the trash. Devens Regional Household Hazardous Products Collection Center (DevensHHW.com) accepts thermal paper for a fee per gallon. (The center confirmed that it accepts thermal paper, though it is not included in their online list of accepted materials).
To reduce your use of thermal paper receipts:
- Don’t ask for receipts where you don’t need them (e.g., at the gas pump).
- Choose digital receipts from stores that offer them. Security and privacy considerations apply.
For more information about BPA/BPS in thermal paper see pprc.org/2015/pprc/should-we-recycle-thermal-receipts-that-contain-bpa.
This recycling tip is brought to you by the Transfer Station Committee.
Editor’s Note: To gain entry to Harvard’s Transfer Station and empty trash, residents must purchase an $80 sticker. The sticker entitles its holder to dispose of recyclable glass, paper, metal, plastic, textiles, and books at no charge. But residents must purchase specially marked bags to dispose of nonrecyclable materials. These are available at the Harvard General Store, Harvard Outdoor Power Equipment, Westward Orchards (June through December), Bolton Orchards in Bolton, Moore's in Ayer, and Shop ’n Save in Ayer. The Press publishes these weekly tips to help readers reduce the volume of their trash, while increasing the volume they recycle.