Did you know it is recommended to put your shopping receipts made of thermal paper in the trash instead of in the recycling?
I imagine most peoples first instinct is to recycle their receipts because they are made of paper. Logical assumption. Until recently, I have been doing this myself. Read more about BPA and thermal paper here.
According to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Rapid Research (PPRC), disposing of thermal paper receipts in the trash is recommended rather than recycling them to reduce environmental release of BPA.
Apparently, recycling thermal paper is one of the largest culprits of BPA entering the wastewater treatment plants. This is due to intensive amounts of water used during the recycling process and the free release of BPA-containing coating materials.
Recycling thermal paper can increase human exposure to BPA. When the paper is recycled, it can contaminate new paper products, some which come in contact with food and then migrate to the food.
The amount of BPA in recycled paper is actually higher than the amount in virgin paper. WOW, scary stuff.
Disposing thermal paper in the trash provides at least a buffer for BPA to break down within a landfill though the anaerobic conditions in many landfills often do not favor breakdown. Ultimately, landfill leachate should be collected and treated, which will further reduce BPA levels, according to the PPRC. Is this being done? I am not sure. But, it would definitely help to reduce the BPA in our water.
It seems almost impossible to avoid toxins in our environment. Consumers should be cautions of how they handle thermal paper to minimize their exposure. It seems that the least detrimental way to dispose of this BPA containing paper is the trash. I just hope that a better alternative can be found to rid BPA from our water.
Sometimes, I want to just live in a natural non-toxic bubble! Sigh
BPA, Fun Fact Friday, recycle