In January, California Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced a law barring retailers from printing paper receipts unless a customer requests one. Otherwise they'd be required to provide proof-of-purchase receipts "only in electronic form." The bill has cleared its first hurdle in the sate Legislature on Monday as it passed the Nature Resources Committee in a 6-3 vote, despite concerns from some industry groups that say the switch should be driven by the market, not a government mandate. The Los Angeles Times reports: Assembly Bill 161 by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said his bill is an easy way to reduce paper waste in the state while addressing consumers' frustrations with excessively long receipts. Customers have taken to social media for years to complain and poke fun at the size of their receipts, particularly at CVS drugstore, posting pictures of the coupon-packed printouts measuring taller than a refrigerator. The paper that receipts are printed on is generally too thin to be made from recycled material, according to a legislative analysis of the bill. Once they are thrown away, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle, said the use of chemicals on paper receipts makes them undesirable to recyclers. The American Forest and Paper Assn., a paper industry group that opposes the bill, estimates that the United States generates 180,000 tons of paper receipts each year. That, the group points out, is a small percentage of total paper waste. The bill would give businesses until 2022 to provide customers electronic receipts, or a paper printout available on request. Violators would receive two warnings before being levied a $25-per-day fine. The maximum annual fine would be $300. The bill exempts cash-only and smaller businesses with gross receipts under $1 million a year from the electronic receipt requirement.

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