Bad on paper? Research reveals growing need for retailers to move to digital receipts  

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Indie retailers wanting to operate a more sustainable business should switch to digital receipts, say experts.

According to figures, around 10 million trees are cut down annually across the globe to print over 11.2 billion mostly non-recyclable paper receipts. These mostly end up in landfill and clutter streets and car parks, creating more than 10,000 tonnes of paper waste.

Recent research from Yocuda, a world leader in digital solutions, reveals that 76 per cent of shoppers would choose digital receipts if they knew how many trees were destroyed to print transactions on paper. That number rises to 87 per cent and 88 per cent for those aged 18-25 and 26-35 respectively. The vast majority of shoppers (80 per cent) would also choose digital receipts if they knew paper receipts were non-recyclable. 

In recent years there has been growing awareness from shoppers about the impact of their buying habits. More consumers now feel the need to read a retailer’s sustainability policy before making a purchase, with over two thirds (69 per cent) citing this as important factor in their decision.

Furthermore, 67 per cent of shoppers believe it is environmentally wasteful to print till receipts automatically, and 87 per cent expect to see a decline in paper receipts over the next five years.

“There is no escaping the fact that paper receipts have a disastrous impact on the environment,” says Yocuda CEO Edward Drax. “Five years ago, few people would have batted an eyelid to the automatic printing of receipts. However, shoppers have become more environmentally conscious and their preferences have changed in favour of digital solutions. Our research underscores the moral and ethical duty of care that has grown in sentiment amongst shoppers in the UK.

“It’s reassuring to see that more shoppers than ever are grasping the impact that paper receipts have on our world. Shoppers are calling for more transparency from retailers and expect strong sustainability policies to be put in place. Reducing paper receipts is an easy way for retailers to reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to the majority of environmentally conscious consumers.”