ENVIRONMENT

Spanish retailers start to phase out paper receipts

Carrefour and Apple lead the way in offering customers a digital record of purchases

The Carrefour supermarket chain has taken the first step toward eliminating paper receipts at the checkouts of its stores throughout Spain. The French company says it intends to reduce the use of these receipts by 70%, as well as digitalizing the main processes at its central offices through its Papel 0 (Zero paper) initiative.

The French chain is pioneering the move toward digitalization.
The French chain is pioneering the move toward digitalization.Reuters

Apple, which has 11 stores in Spain, already offers customers the choice of an email with a scan of their receipt instead of a paper copy.

Carrefour’s Mi Carrefour app allows customers to select a “no paper” option when purchasing goods or using discount coupons. The company is currently notifying the one million or so Spanish users of its app that they can now choose a paperless transaction at checkouts.

Customers will still have the right to a paper receipt

The company, which has 175 hypermarkets, 114 supermarkets and 538 convenience stores throughout Spain, says it intends to systematically eliminate the use of paper receipts.

German-owned Lidl announced in December that it would no longer provide paper receipts at its 100 supermarkets in Switzerland in a bid to reduce costs and contribute to protecting the environment.

Carrefour says that in the meantime, it will improve the efficiency of its printing as it moves toward digitization. It will also be replacing traditional waste paper bins with recycling zones in its stores.

FACUA, the Spanish consumers’ organization, says that replacing paper receipts with electronic versions is only permitted under Spanish law if customers accept it.

At the same time, it adds that aside from reducing waste, electronic receipts are more secure than traditional paper versions in the event of making a complaint, given that most people lose or throw away the paper versions.

The organization, which says consumers are already asking for advice and information on the digitization of receipts, notes that shoppers retain the legal right to a paper copy. It points out that many people in Spain do not have access to the internet, either for economic reasons or because they do not understand how so-called new technologies work.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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