Phil Ting, a Democrat-aligned state assemblyman for Califonia, officially filed legislation late last week to set up a series of fines for businesses that elect to make use of a specific type of paper receipts.
Known as Assembly Bill 1347, this new piece of legislation would impose fines for small businesses that make use of receipts that contain BPS or BPA, which are chemical agents utilized in the making if various plastics, or including “items nonessential to the transaction” such as advertisements or other coupons. Businesses that are discovered to be in violation of the statute would be subjected to a stacking daily fine of $25 which is capped at a level of $300 annually.
“When we get coffee to-go or a pack of gum, most of us don’t want or need a physical receipt,” explained Ting as part of a recent press release. “It’s time we provide customers with the option to get no receipt or a digital receipt. It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and produce billions of pounds of carbon emissions.”
Ting made reference to a published report coming from Green America which noted that close to 3 million trees and over 10 billion gallons of water are used up every year within the United States to create these paper receipts, which as a side effect spawns 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. He called on his constituents to stand by a petition affirming that “paper receipts have become unnecessary” and “have harmful chemicals that can be absorbed through our skin just by touching them.”
The legislator first created a new bill in the same vein back in 2019, which ended up stalling out once it hit the Senate Appropriations Committee. The new bill seeking to create these fines for paper receipts is just the most recent of a number of highly strict environmental regulations regarding businesses and consumers that have been proposed in the state of California. Officials for San Francisco became the focus of hefty controversy in 2018 for announcing a series of extreme crackdowns for stirrers, plastic straws, and toothpicks, all while their counterparts out in Santa Barbara toyed with the idea of setting in place fines that could climb all the way up to $10,000 per offense against restaurants that choose to use plastic straws.