Have you ever bought something that says it is BPA free? BPA stands for Bisphenol-A which is a chemical used in plastic production. It has been found to mimic and disrupt natural hormone production and for this reason BPA has been prohibited in the production of baby bottles. However, it is still commonly used to line drinks cans and as the magic ink in receipts.
The BPA is found in the shiny receipt coating and this turns black when it is heated so thermal printers are used to ‘burn’ the text onto your reciepts (if you put a receipt on the radiator it will turn completely black*). This leaves us with a environmental quandy – because receipts contain BPA they are not recyclable, as it contaminates new paper, so receipts should go to landfill – But what happens then? The paper itself is still biodegradable, but the BPA is not and will sit in the soil or even make their way into water sources – at the moment there is no answer, but it is certainly something we should be addressing.
*if you put a receipt on the radiator it is no longer a valid proof of purchase.