Feasibility: It is feasible as such alternatives are already in place in some countries

Scope of application: it is possible for point of sale receipts, public transport tickets, boarding pass, parking tickets, cinema tickets, etc. However, it seems more difficult for labelling (e.g. Post, Food…)

Advantages: There is no more cashier exposure to chemicals substances. There is a decrease in paper use.

Possible issues:

  • Customers’ personal data has to be protected.
  • The delivery of sales receipts, tickets has to be possible to the whole population and not only for the ones having a smartphone or an email address.
  • The new technologies have to be available not only for big retailers, but also for smaller businesses like small shops or restaurants.
  • Some countries have  legal obligation of printed receipts (e.g. Italy).
  • It should be avoided that printing is shifted to the consumers (if they need/want a printed receipt). It could possibly be time-consuming for the consumers.
  • Changing the tools has a cost which needs to be taken up somewhere in the supply chain.
  • Electronic data storing has an environmental cost (that could be reduced if the unsaved tickets are deleted automatically after a certain period).
  • It can also have an impact on employment.

The feasibility depends on the acceptance degree of the customers (how much do I agree to do myself, how much data am I ready to share). The perception of such alternatives will probably evolve with the time (it will probably be more obvious for the next generation).

If some thermal paper uses are replaced by other technologies, it can help to reduce the exposure to hazardous substances. One easy way to reduce the exposure to these substances is to ask the customer if he/she wants the receipt, and if not, receipt should not be printed at all to avoid cashier exposure.

Some other paper-based alternative options have also been discussed, but were not considered  relevant:

  • Re-writable paper was not considered relevant due to legal problem (how can we be sure that the receipt has not been re-written?)
  • non-thermal papers were not considered relevant as alternative options, due to printing time, cost and ink toxicity issues.