With only a few days until Christmas, there are a lot of last-minute trips to buy presents for family and friends. Amidst the shopping frenzy, many of us stuff our receipts to the bottom of our purse or shove them into our wallets and quickly move on to the next store. At the end of the day, you’re left with wads of paper. If you’ve ever thought that traditional store receipts are a waste of paper, you’re not alone – 9.6 million trees are cut down each year to make receipts – and that’s just in the United States!
So, it’s not surprising that in recent years several retailers have tried to reduce, if not eliminate, the use of traditional receipts. Using your smartphone or other mobile device at check-out is a technology that is just emerging and is intended to ease the purchase process, but a big bonus is that it eliminates the need for paper receipts. Students in our Walmart Green Student Challenge, hosted by Walmart Canada, recommended a slightly different approach with an idea to create an electronic receipt app.
We’ve also taken this concept to our tax-exempt receipts. Previously we required an electronic signature for these types of receipts as backup to the paper ones, but in December we changed the procedure to capture only electronic signatures, eliminating the need for paper receipts. Now all Sam’s Clubs and Walmart U.S. stores capture only electronic signatures. This move has had significant impact on our paper waste. We’re saving 51.5 million feet of paper per year, which is equivalent to 1.25 feet of receipt paper for each of the 23.8 million transactions at Sam’s Clubs and 17.4 million transactions at Walmart stores in a year. It also provides financial savings – $132,600 in receipt paper per year.
So, what are your thoughts on paper receipts? Do you prefer them or does having an electronic receipt make things easier?