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Paper shop receipts to be phased out in France in 2023

Customers will still be able to ask for one but it is hoped that this measure will help to reduce the 2.5 million trees currently felled for receipt production each year

Paper receipts will no longer be given automatically in French shops from January 1, 2023 Pic: Denys Kurbatov / Shutterstock

Paper receipts will stop being handed out automatically in French shops from January 1 2023, with customers only being given one if they ask for it.

This comes as part of the loi anti-gaspillage pour une économie circulaire (anti-waste law for a circular economy), which aims to reduce the amount of rubbish which is needlessly thrown away. 

In France, big supermarket stores go through around 10,600 rolls of the thermal paper used for receipts each year. 

The MPs behind the new law, Patricia Mirallès, Gilles Le Gendre and Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili, also said that several studies have suggested that the bisphenol F and S chemical compounds used in receipts could come with health risks for humans. 

Both substances have been identified as endocrine disruptors, which interfere with people’s hormonal systems and can potentially cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and developmental disorders. 

For this reason, another study recommended that pregnant cashiers should not handle receipts. 

Even when paper receipts cease to be the default proof of shop purchases, it will still be possible to ask for one to be printed off for you. 

Many shops also have a loyalty programme, through which customers can log into their online space and view all of their past purchases. 

Others will offer their customers receipts delivered virtually by email. 

Some supermarkets, including Carrefour and U, had already stopped handing out receipts as a default in April 2021. 

“We now know that the 30 billion receipts printed each year in France are the cause of 2.5 million trees being felled and 950 million litres of water being wasted,” Carrefour stated at the time.

“For our 1,600 shops, we will save a total of 40,000 kilometres of roll,” said Thierry Desouches, Système U’s director of communications. “Every small gesture adds up to create a significant effect.” 

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