Friday, May 16, 2008

Receipt Trees

Okay, I have jumped on the bandwagon with the whole 'plastic grocery bags are bad for the environment' thing. Last summer I bought some great re-usable canvas bags and love them. Not just because they save plastic trees but because they a) hold more groceries and b) are much easier to carry, with big strong straps.

No more plastic bags overflowing from under my kitchen sink. (I swear they were reproducing)

But just yesterday, after the teenage bag boy loaded up my milk and bread into my save-the-world bags, I turned to finish paying for my transaction. The clerk handed me two long ribbons of receipts.

I swear, I bought no more than twelve items and yet my register tape was about six feet long. All the regular stuff, the things I bought listed efficiently, the date, store address, but then came miles and miles of surveys about service (just call this handy 800 number when you get home...) and coupons.

It is not the first time I have had receipt shock. And not just the kind of shock that comes from seeing what only twelve items can rob from my bank account. But shock that we are so obsessed and concerned about saving the earth by not using plastic bags, and recycling all our newspapers, and turning in our tin cans, yet no one has ever raised a fuss for the miles of register tape that leave the store and end up in home trash cans.

Isn't there a way to just print out the items I bought and then ask me if I wanted any coupons? Or maybe have a recycle bin near the door so I could rip off the part of the receipt I want to save and keep the rest out of the landfill?

It made me feel bad....that I had gotten points for bringing my own canvas bags, but then lost them again, for wasting paper I didn't even ask for.

I'm wondering if it is just our New York grocery stores or if others across the country do this also. Is it really worth wasting all that paper for the one person who might actually keep up with, then use the store coupon that hangs at the end of my receipt?

Someone needs to organize a 'save the receipt tree' campaign.

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