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  • Beatrix Azfar

Thermal Paper

Thermal paper which is used to make reciepts and tickets, is printed on using heat.

Every year, UK retailers hand out around 11.2 billion till receipts, which cost at least £32 million to make. Even if you don’t need a receipt, chances are it’ll be printed anyway and goes into the trash. The whole process can be wasteful.

Thermal paper receipts are the shiny ones, which are fairly standard both at supermarkets and smaller stores.

The problem: thermal paper is coated with a substance called bisphenol A (BPA), or its lesser known but also harmful substitute BPS; both react to the heat from a printer head to produce the numbers and letters on the paper.

If you scratch a receipt and leave a dark mark, it contains BPA and BPS.

While there is not much data for the UK, paper receipts that end up in the bin are thought to generate as much as 1.5 billion pounds of waste per year.

bisphenol A (BPA) is carcenogenic (cancer causing)

"For people who wish to avoid taking the risk, the researchers told newspapers that they should fold receipts inward, not crumple them up or handle them unnecessarily, not store them in pockets or wallets, and throw them in the rubbish when no longer required"

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