Assemblyman submits bill to cut paper receipts. We have the receipts from his last attempt

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) holds a long paper receipt.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) displays a long paper receipt as he discusses his bill to require businesses to offer electronic receipts in 2019 in Sacramento. Under his legislation, customers could receive a paper receipt on request.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

More than three years after criticism from the paper industry and business groups torpedoed his bill to cut paper receipts, Assemblymember Phil Ting reintroduced his so-called Skip the Slip legislation Thursday, citing environmental and health benefits.

“It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and produce billions [of] pounds of carbon emissions” when physical receipts are largely unwanted by consumers, the San Francisco lawmaker said.

Ting had introduced similar legislation in 2019, which initially passed the state Assembly despite concerns from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, California Grocers Assn. and California Restaurant Assn., before falling short in the Senate.


The bill was watered down before ultimately being sidelined later in 2019. “We are very disappointed,” Ting said at the time, vowing to try again.

The new bill contains provisions to introduce fines totaling up to $300 per year for businesses that do not comply with the rules: Receipts would be given only upon request; they must not contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals; and they “cannot be longer than necessary.”

A report from the Ecology Center in 2018 found that more than 90% of tested receipts contained either bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS). Both can be absorbed by skin contact and lead to negative effects on “hormones, metabolism, and other bodily systems,” the report says.

Nonprofit organization Green America estimates that “receipts use 3,680,000 trees and 10 billion gallons of water every year in the U.S.” Additionally, 86% of Americans surveyed “would like retailers to offer digital receipts.”

The Department of Justice estimated it would cost $717,000 to add staff to enforce the previous Skip the Slip bill.

Matt Sutton, a lobbyist with the California Restaurant Assn., told The Times in 2019 that the mandate would cost eateries about $35,000 if they did not have a point-of-sale system that could handle electronic receipts.


The association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether many restaurants had moved to such systems in the years since.

Despite the failure of the 2019 bill, many retailers have taken steps to limit their receipt footprints. CVS, Whole Foods and Taco Bell and other stores have taken steps to shorten or eliminate paper receipts, according to Green America.