It is sometimes preciously preserved, sometimes immediately discarded. According to consumers, the paper receipt does not have the same fate. While some brands are trying to abandon it, others continue to print it. And in large quantities. Thierry, a resident of Meux (province of Namur), is surprised by the length of his receipt received at Quick. What are the rules, are any reforms envisaged?
“A cash receipt way too big for a small order of €9.80″, Thierry writes to us via the orange Alert us button. Once his order has been placed at Quick, this resident of La Bruyère is surprised by the length of the receipt he is given. Armed with his tape measure, he does the accounts. The receipt reaches 54 centimeters. His order is however not colossal, it consists of two burgers, a packet of fries and a drink.
As consumers, we don’t need all that
For this bus driver, the “waste is unheard of”. Looking closely at his invoice, Thierry concludes that only 7 centimeters of paper would suffice to sum up his order. “Everything else is technical info. Everything. As consumers, we don’t need all that stuff. I don’t think it’s really helpful,” he laments. Before adding: “From an ecological and economic point of view, this is not good at all. For me, there are 47 centimeters too much”.
In 2019, the fast food brand had already distinguished itself by the length of its receipts. At that time, the ticket even measured 71 cm, 17 less than today. Efforts have therefore been made. “Reducing the length of receipts is therefore a point on which our two brands (Quick and Burger King) continue to work and certain avenues have already been explored”insists the firm via a press release.
The regulations are clear. In the Horeca sector, theWhen the company has an annual turnover of more than 25,000 euros, a receipt from a cash register system must be issued. The system was introduced in 2016 to combat fraud in the hospitality industry. Its printing is obligatory as proof of invoicing.
In other businesses, the regulations differ. Businesses that supply goods, such as supermarkets, are not required to print a receipt. However, it is common, even systematic, to obtain a receipt printed when one has finished shopping. Whether asked for or not, it is often printed.
The consumer no longer demands it
On November 13, 2020, the Senate adopted a resolution relating to the abolition of the paper receipt. “In the last century, there was no alternative to the sales receipt as proof of purchase, but today this is no longer the case. Many everyday purchases result in the systematic printing of a receipt when the consumer no longer claims it”, justified its authors. For the time being, no law prohibiting the issuance of a paper ticket has however been adopted.
To reduce their costs as well as their ecological footprint, some brands offer an alternative: the digital receipt. This has been possible since 2014 but still seems to be little adopted by consumers. “People like to have their ticket. They like to check it when they get home or after their shopping,” notes Karima Ghozi, spokesperson for Delhaize.
Among the customers who remain faithful to the printing of their receipt, are those who are not digitized. “The ultimate goal would be for all customers to go digital and be able to consult it at their ease on their application. But we are aware that not everyone has access to the application and to digital”, remarks the spokesperson for the brand. The total elimination of the printed till receipt is not currently envisaged by Delhaize. “We want to leave the choice to our customers”says Karima Ghozi.
Yet doing without a ticket would allow Delhaize to save 162 tonnes of paper and 148 tonnes of CO2 each year. According to Green IT, a collective of experts on the issues of digital sobriety and responsible digital technology, a dematerialized ticket would reduce water consumption by 2 cm compared to the printed ticket. However, it would emit 2 grams more CO2 into the atmosphere.
However, the measure does not appeal to all professionals in the sector. According to Comeos, the total elimination of this paper ticket “is not a good idea”. The Federation considers that the alternatives proposed today are not satisfactory. “We are in favor of the digital ticket but it should be the choice of the retailer rather than the consumer“, valued Wim Van Edom, Comeos economist. A position that the economist justifies by the fact that the request for an email address at each checkout can prove to be a tedious task. “We need a legal framework because for now, the only thing we can do is send an email”he adds.
You can ask not to receive anything
To avoid these practical inconveniences, the cooperative supermarket Bees Coop has found the solution. “After paying, there are three options. You can request the printing of the paper ticket, either receive it by email, or ask not to receive anything”, says Geneviève Boxus, communications officer at Bees Coop. If the consumer agrees, no ticket can be sent. A verification of the price and the total amount is made by the seller and the buyer before leaving the store.