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Bay Area Lawmaker Seeks Elimination Of Paper Receipts

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Calling paper receipts a waste, a Bay Area lawmaker has introduced a measure that would require California businesses to issue receipts to consumers electronically.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced AB 161, also known as the "Skip the Slip" bill. If approved, the measure would require businesses to issue e-receipts by 2022, unless a customer specifically requests a hard copy. Electronic receipts would be issued by email or by text.

Ting unveiled his proposal at a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. A staffer wore a large receipt that detailed why the bill was needed.

"Most of us don't need a physical receipt for every transaction. It doesn't make sense to kill so many trees and produce 12 billion pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent of one million cars on the road, to make something we don't often need," Ting said in a statement.

The San Francisco lawmaker cited a study from the environmental group Green America, which claims up to 10 million trees and 21 billion gallons of water in the U.S. are used to create receipts every year.

Along with the environmental impacts, Ting also noted that many receipts contain chemicals such as bisphenol-A and bisphenol-S, which have been linked to developmental and neurological problems.

If approved, businesses that do not comply would receive two warnings before being fined up to $300 per year.

Ting's proposal follows a newly enacted state law that bars full-service restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws. California has also banned single-use plastic bags, which was upheld by voters in a 2016 referendum.

According to Ting's office, committee hearings on AB 161 are expected to begin this spring.

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