Receipt Game: Why Rainbow Is Changing Things Up

Chemical-watchers, take note: your receipt from Rainbow Grocery Cooperative is now free of phenols, otherwise known as BPA and BPS. This is a first for the Bay Area. Rainbow’s dye-free receipts look and feel different from others: The listed items and prices look lighter (grab your reading glasses) and the paper feels less slick. There is no smudging, or dirty fingertips, with this new system.

[jump] In an effort to keep the planet and its crew healthy, Rainbow has switched to using Vitamin C instead of ink. Whoa, right? Since the popular meat-free co-op is widely known as ground central for tasty vegetarian staples with a hippie bent: chia, kombucha, nut butters, and farm fresh produce, it makes sense that Rainbow is now a first mover for this new approach. I especially appreciate the attention to phenols after having a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer recently. (All good now, thanks!).

Rainbow’s site delves deeper into why they are using a new process and paper for receipts:

Rainbow Grocery Coop is finally able to provide customers and workers with a non-toxic register receipt. Over a year ago, studies showed that the bisphenol-A (BPA)-free receipts we were using still contained bisphenol-S (BPS), also an endocrine disrupting substance. Like BPA, it is easily absorbed through the skin.
However, although the industry still claims that BPA-free, BPS-coated papers (as well as plastic products) are “safe”, there is enough controversy that a few paper manufacturers, processors, and distributors are now providing receipt papers without any toxic phenol content.

As our supplier’s main customer for the BPA-free receipt rolls (would you believe it!), we have been at least partly instrumental in providing a demand for BPA/BPS-free receipts. Now we will be the first in the Bay Area to provide these phenol-free receipts. We hope that successful use of these new receipts will encourage other businesses to make the change as well.

A cashier told me via phone interview that the receipts are not toxic, and that they can be recycled and composted. Will be interesting to see which stores may follow Rainbow's lead on this paper trail.

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