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Why California’s crusade against receipts is pointless

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KUALA LUMPUR - Can grandstanding empty the oceans of plastics and the landfills of trash?

For the last five years, California’s been conducting an experiment to find out. In 2016, the state enacted a limited ban on plastic bags. This year, a new law forbids most restaurants from distributing plastic straws unless requested by a customer. Next up? A San Francisco lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban paper receipts unless a customer specifically asks for one. If adopted, proponents argue, the environmental and health benefits will be significant.

In reality, the “Skip the Slip” measure would have almost no impact on either. Instead, like the plastic-straw ban that preceded it, and which it emulates, the receipt ban is simply another low-impact environmental campaign that asks little of Californians and will accomplish less. Worse, it diverts attention and effort from bigger and far more pressing waste and recycling issues that are negatively impacting the state right now.

One reason campaigns such as these gain public traction is that they appear to have data on their side. For example, according to a widely cited May 2018 report authored by Green America, the organization that inspired the “Skip the Slip” crusade, receipts in the United........

© The Japan Times